CW Innovation Blog Series: Sean Buttner

The CW Innovation programme is jointly led by CW+ and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and paves the way for new ideas – and new ways of using existing ideas – that will improve patient care, patient experience and the way the Trust’s hospitals and clinics are run.

Seán Buttner, Senior Innovation Manager, works as part of the CW Innovation team and supports the delivery of key innovation projects across the Trust. In this blog, part of our CW Innovation series, Seán shares insights into his work with the Acute Medicine Team at the Trust.

Tell us how you came to be in your present role and what it entails.

I started my career in healthcare as a physiotherapist, then moved into operational management before stepping into digital health-focused roles at DigitalHealth.London and UCLPartners. I also spent time working with a start-up before joining the CW Innovation Team.

My role involves working closely with Trust innovators and includes helping them to shape ideas, define problems, navigate and evaluate. It also involves identifying and securing access to innovative technologies, and rolling these out at the Trust.

How are you currently supporting innovation at the Trust?

I’m involved in a big piece of work at the moment with the Trust’s Improvement Team around mapping the Acute Medicine Pathway (AMP).

In acute medicine, we need to get patients from admission to discharge as efficiently as possible. My work focuses on understanding the processes involved in this journey and finding ways to improve them.

I have worked with key stakeholders from the Acute Medicine clinical teams, management team and colleagues from Improvement to map out the patient pathway, from being admitted and cared for on the unit to discharge home or to other wards, showing the processes at each stage.

We have been able to hone in on the real pain points and identify areas for improvement, and also where innovation can support.

We use data to drive and inform our decision making. We have systems and technology already in place to support this, but we need to make sure the right data is being captured in the right format.

I am helping the teams by bringing some of the data to life. Rather than just looking at a data point on a dashboard, we need to understand the human factors around it to interpret it correctly. For example, why are patients stuck in the discharge process? Are they still in hospital because they haven’t been seen by the therapist team, or because they need social care? I look at the reality of the situation to pinpoint where improvements can be made.

It’s a really gratifying project because we’re looking at the big picture rather than trying to apply solutions to a number of different sticking points without considering the wider causes and impacts.

How is the project progressing?

This is an ongoing project, but we are at a point now where some good recommendations are being suggested. This enables us to identify the low-hanging fruit and get some quick wins.

There is also a renewed focus on building solutions using the Trust’s existing systems, where possible. One question I usually ask is: are we maximising the use of the systems and platforms we already have in use at the Trust? It is easy to always look for something new and shiny, but we need to make the most of what we already have to support the spread and adoption of what is already proven.

Through working together with clinicians and other Trust staff on improvement, we can ultimately become more efficient, reducing expenditure and improving health outcomes for patients.

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