• Tara Humphrey

How to track transformation without getting lost in the bureaucracy

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

While healthcare professionals are increasingly being empowered to flexibly develop their own initiatives based on the needs and demands from patients, there still remains the tension between working flexibly and having to adhere to bureaucratic reporting systems.

Understandably, there is a need to track:

  • What did you do with the money you were given?

  • What did you achieve?

  • What was your approach?

  • What lessons did you learn?

  • What data did you capture?

  • What direct impact did you have on patients?

  • Did you save any money?

  • What training did you do?

  • Where are you on the maturity matrix?

  • How many people did you reach?

And so, we dance between the old world of transactional interactions and the new world of facilitating change that is built to last, but the question is, how can we do this so providers and commissioners can track progress in a meaningful way?

Reporting is a necessary evil within the NHS, and I can’t see it changing any time soon, but we can change our mindset around this.

Here I recommend:

  1. Make the time to plan your project and decide on what you will be capturing from the outset and be flexible, as things may change. If you wait until the end to understand the journey you took, unsurprisingly, you have just made life hard for yourself.

  2. Work in partnership with commissioners and local partners to collectively decide on the who, what, why, where, when, how, and how much data is to be collected.

  3. Replace the thought of ‘reporting and evaluation’ with ‘showcasing what you are doing and what you have learnt’. This is the chance to capture data points and narrative along the way to showcase the progress and difference being made.

  4. Use stories, case studies, videos, patient and staff feedback and testimonials to demonstrate your progress. Not everything has to fit into a box.

  5. Hold meetings to informally ‘check in’ and collectively address what is and what isn’t working, what are you learning, what needs to change and what you should stop doing.

  6. Hold an evaluation event to share lessons learnt. This is so much more powerful than just the final report. Celebrate your progress, thank people for their support and use this opportunity to keep the momentum going.

  7. Start building a lessons log today and every week, document what went well and what would have been even better if. Be honest with yourself and the situation. This is how to learn and improve.

  8. Keep reminding yourself why you embarked on this project in the first place.

  9. Don’t shy away from the numbers. Numbers alone, don’t provide the whole story but they can be a powerful indicator of what is happening and how you are progressing. Overemphasis on the numbers will hamper performance and create a distraction from what is truly happening.

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Tara Humphrey is the founder of THC Primary Care, a leading healthcare consultancy specialising in workforce transformation and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast.

Tara and her team also work with GP federations supporting the implementation of clinical services.

Tara has over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sector and has an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care and is the author of over 150 blogs.

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