What is the Sheffield Microsystem Coaching Academy?

The UK's first Microsystem Coaching Academy aims to:-

  • Build improvement capability into the workforce

  • To maximise quality and value to patients

  • Help multi-disciplinary front line teams rethink and redesign services

Coaches are trained in the art of team coaching and the science of quality improvement to work with front line teams to help them re-design the services they deliver.

The MCA's core objective is to develop coaches and work with teams within Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield Children’s and Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust and will help organisations beyond Sheffield get started on thier own improvement journey.

Organisations cannot transform themselves without the positive engagement of the workforce (Nelson et al, 2007)

How the Academy is achieving this aim

The Academy has trained 195 microsystem coaches, across clinical and corporate support areas in cohorts 1 to 8. Using action learning theory, these coaches have helped teams make multiple improvements work in their microsystems. Coaches have been trained from both outside and within STH.

As well at the MCA coaching course over 1200 staff have attended the 'Introduction to Quality Improvement' courses. The feedback from these courses has been excellent. They provide a short taster for staff that my want to go on and do the coaching course or get involved with a microsystem or flow team.

The MCA website last year recieved over 17,000 hits from a wide range of countries and organisations, with 90,000 page views this year. A total of 220 staff attended the MCA expo in June 2017.

We encourage to deeply involve patients in thier microsytem improvement, to help group members understand the value to the customer, drawing on tools including patient interviews and stories, patient representation in microsystems, and fictional patients. We hope to create a culture of sustained patient-centred continuous quality improvement within and beyond the Trust. 

How do you change the culture of an organisation?

W. Edwards Deming suggested that an organisation needs to develop the ‘square root of the number of employees as improvement experts’ to achieve the critical mass for culture change where improvement becomes normall business. Sheffield MCA predicts we need to have approximately 125 coaches actively coaching in STH. (√15,000 employees). Sustaining and supporting the improvement capability we develop remains a major challenge as we lead this work with our partner organisations. 

Background to Clinical Microsystems.

The Clinical Microsystems methodology was developed in the USA by The Dartmouth Institute at Dartmouth College, and has been used globally to develop sustainable healthcare improvements in quality of care and efficiency. The approach thinks of health organisations as being made up of small building blocks that come together to provide care.

Our coaching programme, adapted from the Dartmouth Institutes eCoach-the-Coach Programme, supports each individual within each microsystem, to enable healthcare improvement through learning and adapting improvement knowledge, developing skills and abilities, receiving encouragement and seeing improved group dynamics.

Why Sheffield?

Sheffield is a growing and diverse city, but it has higher-than-average deprivation. For Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, changing demographics are placing significant demand on healthcare services, and there is pressing need to deliver value. 

MCA Coaching Course overview

The action learning course includes:

  • Seven learning sessions with lecture materials, handouts and workbooks;
  • Individual and group coaching mentorship experiences
  • Accessible and timely academic and technical support.

The Academy will use the subsequent training capacity to spread up and replicate the work in two ways:

  • By maintaining the network of microsystem coaches
  • By offering training of microsystem coaches to the wider health economy of Sheffield and beyond.

To support this programme, the team uses innovative IT solutions, such as social networking and the Academy website to enable access to teaching materials and provide a framework for outcome measures, reflection and peer support.  For further information about the course click here

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