Supporting the Health Foundation’s programme for practitioner networks

    Senior Shared Intelligence staff were appointed to the Health Foundation’s faculty as part of its programme supporting practitioner networks in healthcare. Through our role on the faculty we have supported the strategic development a number of networks involving clinicians, patients, and health academics in the fields of medical training, sexual health, and mental health.

    All the networks we supported are involved in some form of culture change within healthcare in the NHS such as:

    • increasing patient-voice in clinical decision-making and medical training;
    • enabling faster translation of new research into mainstream practice;
    • developing services outside of traditional silos and hierarchies; and
    • speeding up the adoption of new practices through time-limited challenge projects.

    In each case our work commenced with a rapid review and diagnostic, undertaken jointly with a network co-ordinator or leader, looking at their network’s goals. We also sought to clarify the exact nature of the network; was it a hierarchically managed group, was the aim to support existing corporate objectives or to challenge, was it a forum of individuals with shared interests, had the original impetus come from among the members or from outside the membership?

    We then developed development plans specific to each network and delivered these over the course of 18 months. Our developmental support included:

    • Supporting network leaders to review their strategic objectives and set new goals;
    • Supporting the planning of knowledge sharing workshops and events to draw in new members;
    • Coaching and one-to-one support for network leaders and co-ordinators; and
    • Support to use digital technology in developing practitioner-networks through internal communication, and to achieve goals externally

    The Health Foundation’s own evaluation of the network support programme found that one of the most valuable products of healthcare networks is that they create settings where those individuals with the brightest ideas are more empowered to implement change than they are in traditional organisational settings and this provides a key rationale for supporting their development. Or as one interviewee is quoted in the Health Foundation’s report as saying:

    Networks themselves don’t guarantee anything innovative will happen, but they create a setting where, should individuals with new ideas be present, those new ideas can be transformed into actions – and drive real change.

    Client: The Health Foundation


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