East of England trust trials new AI-powered team coaching chatbot

An innovative partnership brokered by the Eastern AHSN will see Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) work with London HR analytics startup Saberr to pilot its latest technology, CoachBot.

The mental health trust is the first public sector organisation to trial an AI-powered team analytics solution in the UK. This news comes as NHS England announced recently that it plans to invest more of its £120bn budget in AI to speed up its application to medicine and the health service.

Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT), which provides mental health and learning disability services, will work with Saberr on a 12-month pilot, using this innovative technology to increase staff engagement and improve patient experience. The interactive bot is also being trialled by 10 other companies, including Unilever and Logitech.

Improving team performance at HPFT

The product is being trialled by 64 individuals at HPFT, working in operational and clinical teams, with the goal of providing increased coaching support to aid team performance and development. Together Saberr and HPFT will be tracking engagement scores, performance reviews and even patient outcomes.

Jess Lievesley, Director of Service Delivery and Service User Experience at HPFT, is excited about the opportunities offered by the tool.

“It has great potential for us because it offers bite-size coaching that the teams can work on at a time that suits them. It means we don’t have to take days out of service for long courses and if we need to move things around due to patient needs we can do so without incurring extra cost.”

Tom Marsden, CEO of Saberr explains: “Rather than replacing the role of humans, AI solutions like CoachBot will allow HR staff to take on more consultative roles. Many HR teams and coaches are working in tandem with CoachBot to coach teams to better performance.”

How does it work?

The new product ‘CoachBot’ digitises team-building work traditionally done by a human coach, helping teams address and improve upon issues – from goal setting, to decision making and role clarification.

The CoachBot experience starts with a chatbot-style conversation to unearth what’s going on in the team by asking team members simple questions about their communication style, work goals and team dynamics.

CoachBot collates this information into a bespoke report, identifying areas the team would benefit from focusing on. From there, CoachBot actions a development plan for the team, which includes recommended toolkits, exercises, bite-sized learning or even a human coach if required.

The software continually learns from users and can scale that learning across an organisation. Tom Marsden explains: “As team members continue to interact with CoachBot, the data gleaned will allow their conversations to become more bespoke and mirror that of a human conversation.”

Powerful connections

This partnership has been brokered by the Eastern AHSN’s Transformation Support Unit who work to support the adoption of proven innovations that will benefit the health and wealth of people and businesses across the East of England.

Director of Transformation at the Eastern AHSN, Victoria Corbishley, said: “It’s critical that we improve the working environment for NHS staff and we are immensely proud to be the first public sector organisation in the UK to use AI-powered CoachBot. What really stood out about Saberr was their data driven approach and the huge amount of research at their fingertips regarding what makes an effective team.”

The pilot will start at the end of this month.

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