Real World Chat w Tracy Robinson & Helen Skouteris – Ep01 – Implementing Innovation in Healthcare

Real World Chat w Tracy Robinson & Helen Skouteris – Ep01 – Implementing Innovation in Healthcare


TRACY ROBINSON:: Hello.
Today we’re here to explore the concept of implementation
and innovation in healthcare and the learning
healthcare system. And we have with this
Helen Skouteris. Helen, could you tell us
a little bit about what you’re doing in this space
of healthcare innovation. HELEN SKOUTERIS: I can.
Hello everyone. I am a professor in healthcare
and Social Care Improvement and implementation science, and basically what that means
is that I am very interested in moving our knowledge
from what we know works, to what we know translates
in the real world so that we make a difference
for the families, the children, anyone that we’re caring for. TRACY ROBINSON:: And Helen one
of the issues is that a lot of the work we do
around the learning health system and improvement, happens in hospitals
or tertiary settings. But I’m very conscious
that what we need to do is really shift that work out
into the community in primary care settings and I know
this is a space you work in a lot. Could you tell us a little
bit more about that please. HELEN SKOUTERIS: Yes thank
you Tracy. That’s right. We often think about health
care improvement as a silo. So we think about health
services and hospitals and where patients go. But if we think about the fact
that the Australian government actually wants
to keep Australians out of hospital, and that’s actually the case
all around the world. We really want to support
our communities, our population
in the communities that they live in. And so I do a lot of work
with community service organisations and assist
them to generate the knowledge that’s going to,
again as I said, help them move their innovations
from what they know works in a practice based way. They have a lot of expertise
from a practice based perspective but then
when they want to embed that for sustainability
we need to think about the system barriers and enablers
and how we conquer those, to be able to embed innovations
in a way that will be continuously improving
outcomes for those that we are serving. TRACY ROBINSON:: Helen,
can you perhaps give us an example of what you know
that an improvement initiative might look
like in a primary setting. HELEN SKOUTERIS: Of course yes. An example is one that I’m
currently working on and that is wanting to focus
on the weight management of young adults that are living
in out-of-home care. So they are our most vulnerable
and disadvantaged young people. They’ve been removed
from their homes because of sexual
or physical abuse, and they are the young adults
that do experience a lot of adverse health
and social outcomes. One of those health
outcomes is overweight and obesity. They tend to be two and a half
times more likely to be overweight and obese
than a typically developing adolescent. So what I’ve done in my research
is work with all the stakeholders, and work with policymakers
and work with the young people themselves as consumers,
as the end users. And we’ve designed a program
that’s called the ‘Healthy Eating and Active
Living Program’, that we’re now scaling
up in social care settings across Victoria,
in a way that, as I noted, works with the whole system.
So it’s not a top down approach. It’s not an approach
that I have designed, but rather one that has been
designed and what we say is co-designed by everyone
involved in having to deliver that type
of intervention for these young people in the
homes that they live in. TRACY ROBINSON:: That sounds
really quite impressive. The co-design. Can you maybe talk a little
bit to that, Helen. HELEN SKOUTERIS: Yes.
So in the past, researchers might have been
more focused on developing up in innovations for themselves. Thinking that they know
the literature, and the empirical evidence
and putting that all together and then offering
that to the real world and saying I’ve got
a solution for you. We now know that that’s not
the best way to implement our interventions for better health
and social care outcomes. The best way is to partner
with everyone that has a stake in improving outcomes. And so if you are working
with a particular population, you need to listen to the voice
of that population. You need to design
the interventions, the programs, the strategies whatever
it is that you’re doing you need to design those, listening to the voice of those
who have lived experience. Because if you don’t, it’s not likely that you’ll be
able to translate the intervention. There’ll be too many hurdles
that you need to manage. TRACY ROBINSON:: And Helen I
imagine that’s very hard because that’s time
consuming and you know, project timelines don’t
always allow for that kind of meaningful engagement. Have you’ve got any tips
for how we might start that? HELEN SKOUTERIS: I think that’s
a really good point, because it does take time
but we do know that our innovations may take
up to 17 years to go from literally the lab,
to the real world. And by embracing a co-design
and implementation science perspective, it’s very likely that will
cut down those use drastically. So even though we still
will take time, and nothing in a complex system
will ever happen quickly, nor should it. Because then we might run
the risk of doing it in a way that cuts
corners or in a way that’s not sustainable.
So it will take time. But if you do it systematically
and rigorously and bring everybody on board.
All the stakeholders, the consumers, the end users,
everybody with a shared vision, then you’re more likely to see
success at the other end. So the tip for me would be
don’t try to cut corners, don’t think that as a clinician
or as a researcher, or as a you know, social care professional
that we have all the answers. In actual fact we have
to broaden our reach in terms of consultation
and embed what I also call a participatory approach. So we’re involving
all the participants, everybody that’s needed to be
in the tent as we say, should come into the tent
and we all work together. TRACY ROBINSON:: That’s
so interesting Helen because as you mentioned before
so much of what we do in health care improvement is top down. But what you’re actually
describing is very much a bottom up approach. HELEN SKOUTERIS: That’s right. TRACY ROBINSON:: It’ll be really
good to tease that out and learn a little bit more about,
and in fact, where we we’re…. As you know Helen, we’re implementing a course
on FutureLearn very shortly. A three week course online
called ‘Implementing Innovation in Healthcare’. And if you’re interested
in learning more about what we’ve been talking
about today, it’d be wonderful if you
could enroll and join us. We’ll put the links up for you
and thank you everyone and thank you Helen. HELEN SKOUTERIS: Thank you.
Thanks everyone. Bye.

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