Supercharge Rapid Improvement and Listening Events with Shadowing and Asking What Matters

Throughout the month of October, we’ve gone back to the basics in the hopes of co-creating the new normal.  Shadowing and other co-design tools and methods are critical to bringing teams together to think through aspects of care, processes, teamwork, etc that have gone well in the past 18 months and should be incorporated into the future of work.  Hence, you might be wondering “What comes next?”. After the initial shadowing is complete and the  team has presented qualitative and quantitative data objectively, the next step is for the team to come together to set priorities (high-impact, low cost all the way to high-impact, high-cost) and chart a path to make these a reality.

In 2020, goShadow collaborated with NHS Scotland Royal Hospital for Children, who were in the midst of a redesign of the day of surgery pathway, specifically the pre-anesthetic rooms. Clinicians requested that the goShadow take a few hours to team train students to shadow patients as well as to design, implement, and analyze a survey to gather qualitative data from staff over the course of 30 days. The overall goal was to gather objective and real-time feedback to drive process and spatial redesign that would provide a more welcoming environment as well as a  more efficient use of space for staff. . When staff members were asked to describe the current state of the anaesthetic room,  responses frequently included somewhat sterile words such as ‘clinical’, ‘cold’, and ‘cluttered’. Recommendations from staff coalesced around simple changes, such as switching out bright lights and plain room for color on the walls and themed decor that was calming  and more child and family friendly. These high-impact and low-cost  fixes   provided a more calming atmosphere for patients as well as providers..

Additional feedback from staff was to redesign the small space where they, the patient, and family would interact most to more efficiently locate supplies and to present patients and families with a calming, organized experience. --Staff quickly provided concrete ideas for ways to organize storage, necessary supplies, and equipment that were needed to do their jobs effectively and to provide value-added time to patients. Standardizing the location of equipment made the clinicians’ jobs easier by improving the efficiency of processes, enabling better patient care and less waiting. 

Since not all patients or staff could not be shadowed in a short time frame in such a large department, the qualitative survey enabled an safe space for staff to submit ideas for improvement, share their sentiments around the work and patient experience, and to identify which areas to prioritize and how to fix pain points for them and patients. These responses were later used as the scope of the project expanded to additional spatial and process redesign. Analyzed data was shared with staff to show that their voices had been heard and that they shared many common ideas for improvement as well as purpose. Project teams and students could later call on this qualitative and quantitative data to benchmark goals for waiting time in each segment as well as communication methods to break down silos, build cross-functional teams, and deliver a more ideal patient experience. 

For more information on how to receive goShadow training, assistance, and onsite or remote data collection, analysis, and strategy implementation, click here or reach out to us at

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Posted on

October 15, 2021