DesignSim for Care – a SIMUL8 Healthcare product
Today I’m speaking to SIMUL8’s Executive Director for Healthcare about SIMUL8’s latest product – DesignSim for Care.
Hi Claire, can you tell me a little bit about what you do and your experience?
My background is in the UK NHS where I was lucky enough to have had some really great jobs – from workforce development across health and social care, health strategy, research and development and innovation at local, regional and national levels. During my time in the NHS, I worked closely with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement to bring simulation into supporting evidence-based decision making in healthcare.
This has become a bit of a mission for me and in 2009 I took the decision to leave the NHS and join SIMUL8 to head up their global healthcare team. Since that time we have tripled our healthcare customers, and have a wealth of great examples of how simulation has benefited the industry’s decision-making across the world.
How did the idea for DesignSim for Care come about?
My team build close working relationships with healthcare organizations, and this helps us to learn all we can about the challenging experience of running any health service – keeping it within budget while managing variation in demand and getting the best outcomes for patients. It’s these relationships that help us create generic solutions to the common problems that healthcare organizations face the world over, using simulation. Not everyone in healthcare will become an expert simulator and want to build their own simulations – understanding healthcare questions enables us to build the simulation applications which can help to solve problems without users needing to become simulation experts.
So DesignSim for Care came from one of these ‘generic solutions’?
Yes – we all knew about the Releasing Time to Care, Productive Series which uses Lean methodology to help nurses to improve processes in their environment. Working with the NHS and their Worldwide Team, we found out that while nurses love this system, it was too hard for them to gather hard evidence to persuade their managers to make an investment to change the location of facilities, and in some cases nurses found it hard to get their solution implemented.
Enter DesignSim for Care – a simple simulation tool designed to allow nurses to simulate their typical processes and tasks in a day, how long each process takes and where and how often it is carried out. Nurses run experiments to test how much time they could save by changing the order of processes, where they take place, how long they take and can measure the changes in time saved and present them to decision-makers very easily.
Who was involved in creating DesignSim for Care?
We developed the simulation with one of the lead NHS nurse trainers in Releasing Time to Care who had a great of experience to bring from working in hospital sites all over the world, and with input from other potential users. She really helped us to get it right for nurses to use, and we went through several iterations along the way.
One of our main criteria as to make it really easy and intuitive to use, so that there would be no need for training. Nurses using the Releasing Time to Care programme – and any Lean methodology – are used to using spaghetti diagrams, so that became the animated graphic of choice.
What does the future hold?
In testing it out with initial sites, we found that getting any software past the IT department took some time, so we are hoping that there will be an online version in the near future to get around the problem. We expect DesignSim for Care to evolve as it is used more and more, and we are inviting nurses from anywhere in the world to try it out and give us feedback.