The North Wales Research, Innovation and Improvement Coordination Hub carried out a survey between April and June 2021 to find out what staff thought needed to happen to support research and innovation and improve health and social care services. This work was part of an ongoing project which is also using interviews and workshops to develop these ideas further.
There were 20 people who replied to the survey from a range of organisations including the NHS, local councils, universities and the third sector. This was quite a low response compared to other surveys which we publicise in the same way. This may be because staff are very busy at the moment but it could also suggest that people may not have thought this was relevant to them or didn’t have much to say about the topic. A big thank you to everyone who did take part.
About the participants
All the participants said that they took part in research, innovation or improvement activities as part of their role. This included:
- Carrying out research including cancer research and research into new service models.
- Supporting the development of research including teaching, knowledge mobilisation, promoting evidence based practice and collaboration.
- Data analysis and business intelligence to support service improvement.
- Engagement and consultation on service change and development.
- Evaluation of services and service reviews.
- Piloting innovative technologies.
- Audits and quality improvement projects.
What’s working well at the moment
Many of the participants shared examples of what’s working well at the moment. This included:
- Support for research, innovation and improvement
- Collaboration and communication
- Dedicated time to do research and evaluations with support of senior management.
- Funding to get new projects started and provide training and development opportunities to staff and students.
- Culture and organisational structures that help facilitate improvement
- Engagement and co-production
What works well?
Well organised research department in the health board: organisational set-up, research nurses, partners.
The creation of the Research, Innovation and Improvement Coordination Hub- this is now my ‘go to’ for advice, direction, support
The use of digital technology has improved communication opportunities and potential for collaborative working.
What could be improved
There was also plenty of room for improvement in all these areas too. Participants talked about
- Support for research, innovation and improvement including expertise in helping write grant proposals and raising awareness of support available such as the Community of Scholars scheme.
- Collaboration and communication including a clearer overall direction of travel; supporting people to meet up and network; valuing, publicising and sharing research, innovation and improvement examples; helping people to find shared interests and to learn from each other.
- Need for more funding
- Culture and leadership. The role of research and innovation as tools to support improved outcomes for citizens and the need for good leadership to value research, innovation and improvement and give staff opportunities and support to experiment.
- Engagement and co-production: more emphasis on co-production, particularly in innovation and policy, not just giving it ‘lip service’ and to make sure information gets to people who use services and carers.
- Research and innovation priorities for future work.
What could be improved?
More support, advice, working groups and training for small scale projects to enable people to get a feel for research and the confidence and skills to progress this.
How can the hub support you?
Participants said that the North Wales Research, Innovation and Improvement Coordination Hub could help with the following.
- Connect people.
- Share information, including about successes and failures, grant funding and support available, especially between different specialisms. Suggestions included monthly/quarterly updates, training sessions, working groups and webinars.
- Provide an improvement function for the Regional Partnership Board.
- Provide help with grant applications.
- Lead culture change around use of research and innovation to improve services, including a shift to focus on improvement and the way that research and innovation can support that.
- Help clarify difference in meanings given to research and innovation in health and social care and develop shared priorities.
- Provide a platform to hold current research projects and disseminate reports.
- Provide or commission independent research into specific topics.
- Continue to be available in the long-term.
- Understand barriers to system improvement and ways to develop services that meet the needs of people in North Wales.
- Provide a mechanism for feeding key information about challenges and solutions from the front-line to the Regional Partnership Board.
The next steps for this piece of work are to pull together the findings from this survey along with the findings from the interviews and workshops to develop a vision statement and charter for research, innovation and improvement across North Wales. It will also help inform plans for the future of the Research, Innovation and Improvement Coordination hub.