Service improvement: implementation

Once you have tested the ideas and are clear that you have a great solution to put in place, it's important to plan how you'll implement your service improvement.

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Project planning is a key part of this process. There are many project planning methodologies available, such as PRINCE2, Agile, Lean, Kanban. You can always check if your organisation has a preferred option.

Have a measurement plan in place

The key word here is measurement. Your service improvement must be measurably better. You can do this by being clear about what you want to get out of the change.

There are several things you can measure to see if your improvement has been successful:

  • an increase in safety
  • a reduction in error
  • a reduction in time
  • a reduction in duplication
  • clinical efficiencies
  • cost efficiency
  • consistency
  • adherence to process
  • the number of handoffs
  • complaints/compliments

Your implementation plan also needs to include the data you plan to collect. You need to:

  • note how you will record the data
  • decide how to communicate it to your teams in a timely way
  • establish what measures show that your project is completed.

Be clear who you need to communicate with, how and why

To implement change, you need to communicate with your stakeholders effectively. There are various approaches to stakeholder analysis and management. In all of them, it's important to understand who is:

  • responsible for a task/activity
  • accountable for the task/activity
  • a consulted individual or group (often the experts, clinically, managerially and from a patient perspective)
  • to be informed about what is happening and the progress of your project, eg, senior leadership who you need to keep informed.

Who makes the decisions?

There needs to be clear governance in place regarding the implementation. You need to be explicit about how decisions are made and who will make/ratify the decisions throughout the programme. You can do this through good project management principles, eg, Gantt charts to show timescales and milestones.

Share what you've learned

Finally, celebrate and share your success! Always remember to celebrate your success with the team and learn from where things didn’t go so well.

It's important to share your learning across the organisation and the wider sector. You could write the project up, get published, and share your experience at conferences like Physiotherapy UK.