Cemplicity alongside our partner, KPMG Australia, are sponsoring the International Forum on Safety and Quality in Healthcare in early September and I am fortunate to be attending. This is the first time this highly regarded BMJ/IHI-run conference has made its way to Australia so it’s little wonder that the conference has sold out.

The primary themes of the International Forum on Safety and Quality in Healthcare are Connect, Co-create and Communicate, specifically, how to empower people to make a difference. I am particularly looking forward to hearing from Don Berwick, one of the pioneers of patient experience globally.

In fact, when I joined Cemplicity 3 years ago, Cemplicity co-founder Mary Vance pointed me to one of Mr Berwick’s earlier insights to help me understand Cemplicity better:

“The ultimate measure by which to judge the quality of medical effort is whether it helps patients (and their families) as they see it. Anything done in health care that does not help a patient or family is, by definition, waste, whether or not the professions and their associations traditionally hallow it.”

Wow – that’s a provocative statement even now, let alone when Mr Berwick made it 20 years ago. At the conference, he will be talking about Achieving Change at Scale – a theme very close to Cemplicity’s vision of giving every patient the opportunity to give feedback about their care.

In my experience, those responsible for safety and quality in healthcare are passionate people doing the best with the resources at their disposal. So what holds them back? Part of the challenge they frequently face is delivering a process of improvement that actually scales across their organisation.

Often we will come across a physician utilising survey monkey, capturing patient outcomes from a patient using a tablet while they are waiting for their appointment. The physician is then able to talk through these results with the patient during their appointment, improving their decision making. Fantastic! But not a scalable platform.

Scale requires a central hub collecting and recording the outcomes from all the patients into a single, accessible reporting engine that can not only be seen by the individual physician, but by the quality teams, executive and beyond. Having access to other physicians data from patient outcomes provides a rich hub of information that can inform decisions on how to treat patients in the future by looking at what worked well for patients and what didn’t work so well.

Effective solutions need to engage all front line staff – not just the most passionate, but everyone. It is these staff who interact with patients as they move through and experience your organisation so it is vital they have access to the results patients are reporting about their experiences and outcomes within your organisation. This feedback will leave staff feeling empowered that they can, and have, made a difference.

This is the type of empowerment I will be looking to hear from Mr Berwick and others at the International Forum on Safety and Quality in Healthcare because you need to cater for not just the coalition of the willing, but also the league of the overworked, and the alliance of the sceptical. It is only when all front line teams are engaged, can broad-based and sustained improvements be made in patient experiences and outcomes.