Flow_ology: a play in three acts

Replay > Grid > Scatter > Audit

Flow_ology is a method (elsewhere I've called it a recipe) that gets data about patient flow into the bloodstream of a general hospital. I teach this method in a workshop that has three acts.

And a prologue. More on the prologue in a minute.

Discussion and debate during a Flowopoly replay: Flow Data Symposium, Edinburgh, 11 December 2015.

Act One is called Grid, and it's the session where we introduce the staging posts and metrics of patient flow. First we show you how to measure and calculate the metrics for each staging post. Then, towards the end of this section, we move onto understanding the cause-and-effect relationships within the grid, which are then explored in more depth in…

…Act Two, which is called Scatter, and it's the session where we draw a series of scatterplots to develop a clearer sense of the dynamics and relationships underlying good and bad patient flow, and how we can use these scatterplots to help us...

…identify what we call the "ought-to-be" numbers in Act Three. Act Three (Audit) is Flow_ology's punchline, the point in the workshop where it becomes clear that each element within the hospital system has its own ought-to-be numbers that can be used to inform and develop plans for change and improvement. Flow_ology isn't just about describing what patient flow looks like; it's also about describing what patient flow ought to look like.

And yes, there's also a prologue. We begin the workshop with a prologue called Replay which is designed to change the whole way you think about presenting data to NHS managers and clinicians.

One of the overarching themes of Flow_ology is that we need to be able to present the data about patient flow in a way that has resonance with the people who inhabit and manage that system. And I've learnt that if we present aggregated, summarised data (totals, averages, percentages) to managers and clinicians without any reference to actual individual patient experience, then our data will lack resonance. Replay shows how we can describe a bad flow day in the life of a hospital system by showing all of the individual patient journeys that take place in a single day, so that when we generalise from that experience, we have something tangible for people to hold onto as a solid reference point.

Places are still available on the two open course dates for Flow_ology in the diary: Friday 24th February in London; Wednesday 29th March in Manchester. Email info@kurtosis.co.uk or phone 131 555 5300 to reserve a space, or if you want to talk about how to organise an on-site workshop.

There are more details about the session-by-session content on the Flow_ology page. And you can download a two-sides-of-A4 pdf flyer here.

[15 February 2017]

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