University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust – SpeakUp app:
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) is one of the largest teaching Trusts in the UK, serving a population of over a million people.
Improvements of communication and trust have a direct impact on patient care, quality, staff well-being, engagement, and retention. The Trust is committed to providing high-quality care, ensuring patient and staff safety, and as a part of this commitment a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian (FTSUG) was appointed. Following engagement with staff and reviewing existing data, the FTSUG wanted to create an additional avenue to encourage and empower all staff to raise concerns. An app seemed most relevant to give convenience, privacy, and access to appropriate information as well as to the Freedom to Speak Up team.
The Aim of the App:
The Trust developed the concept of a bespoke SpeakUp app – to enable staff to report any concerns in a convenient and easy way.
The app gives all UHCW employees access to the Freedom To Speak Up team – an impartial and independent source of advice. The app empowers staff to improve the quality of care, working environment and wellbeing by reporting issues like patient/staff safety, risk, bullying, illegal activities, wrongdoing, malpractice or any concerns that may impact on the service UHCW deliver.
It also aims to encourage a culture of openness and transparency, where everyone feels empowered and at ease to speak up about anything that gets in their way of doing a great job.
Having researched and engaged with staff, the Trust’s FTSUG – Lorna Shaw – recognised that employees would benefit from an additional route to report their concerns; one which was both easily accessible and user-friendly. Lorna approached the Innovation team at UCHW, to create a bespoke SpeakUp app. The app was prototyped by the Innovation team using the App Rail prototyping software and trialled internally to assess usability and functionality.
The Trust partnered with Future Workshops Ltd, a software development company, to create a fully commercialised version of the platform suitable for use by other Trusts across the UK. The app is available on iOS and Android.
How the App Works:
Once the app has been downloaded by UHCW staff, they can report their concerns or request advice easily and quickly in one of three ways:
- In confidence
SpeakUp provides messaging for anonymous concerns, meaning that staff can clarify their concerns and stay informed about the paths of resolution, whilst remaining anonymous. Staff can select who should address their concern, either by choosing a specific Ambassador, Guardian or expressing they do not have a preference.
Where staff members opt for the anonymous route, there is an opportunity to understand why they have chosen this, which can provide insight and invaluable learning on how the Trust can create a more open and honest culture where concerns are raised at ease and listened to.
All formal concerns are directed to the FTSU Guardian who will thank the staff member, share the concern with appropriate level of management and provide feedback regarding progress and outcomes.
The UHCW SpeakUp app has enabled the Trust to identify and address concerns quickly and effectively, covering a range of issues, thereby improving patient safety and quality of care. The app has been supporting a culture of openness and transparency at UHCW, important for the Trust’s commitment to providing high-quality care for all. This has been evidenced through feedback, with staff members reporting that they feel more comfortable to raise concerns, knowing that they can do so anonymously.
How Did MidTECH Help?
MidTECH Innovations supported the project to progress from concept through to a fully commercialised platform, with the right legal protections in place. The Trust relied upon assistance from MidTECH to help understand its legal rights around Intellectual Property, to facilitate commercial negotiations with Future Workshops, and to draft the legal agreements safeguarding UHCW’s interests, thereby ensuring the Trust received recognition from the market availability of the platform.
Emilia Olejniczak, Innovation Facilitator at UHCW:
“We want staff to feel they can safely share what worries them about their workplace and be heard. The hope with the SpeakUp app is to support this as well as to foster a culture of openness and learning.”
“This project was complex in nature, and it was invaluable to have MidTECH as a partner who provided legal and commercial advice. They took the time to understand our needs and challenges and shaped the legal agreements to reflect them.”
For more information:
If you would like to find out more about the SpeakUp app, please email email@example.com