Many NHS front line staff have done something innovative that made a difference to patient outcomes and costs - introduced a new pathway or process, trialled a new device or drug, or made another creative service improvement.
But if often stops there - in the department or organization where it was introduced. How much more impact would be gained if other organizations could see what they did, why it was a great idea, and how to replicate it for themselves?
NHS GATHER is a social media tool for NHS staff to find, discuss and copy proven service improvement ideas as online Innovation Guides - simple interactive descriptions of innovations that explain their benefit and show everything required to replicate them. You can also use an Innovation Guide to generate an interactive collaboration plan, adapt it to local needs, then use it to replicate the innovation with low cost and low risk.
NHS GATHER Innovation Guides:
NHS GATHER is a strategic NHS service for replication of successful innovations of all types and across the entire UK. Sponsors of the NHS GATHER service can create their own showcase of Innovation Guides for specific clinical needs and/or regional communities to enable take-up of recommended innovations:
Download the NHS GATHER Factsheet.
Use this site to see Innovation Guides for the service improvements introduced by front line NHS staff on a variety of projects across the country. For more information or to create your own showcase of Innovation Guides, please email us.
With sponsorship from the RSA, NHS GATHER has been replaced by the larger-scale service Town Digital Hub.
Collaborative working across the NHS just got vastly better thanks to the NHS GATHER Innovation guides website. It is deceptively easy to navigate and holds well-presented resources with practical value for anyone embarking on varied service improvements. As a project manager, I found the website and content both enables shared learning for project methodologies, but more importantly underlines how each project impacted on outcomes that matter: patient outcomes, patient experience, service capacity or savings. The standardised format contributes to the immense learning that all levels of health care staff can learn from.
Dr Pierre-Antoine Laloe, Senior Registrar in Anaesthetics and Ignaz Handbook Project Manager, Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber
The solution to the NHS's challenges of improving care and addressing rising demand can only be through innovation in how and what we do. But being innovative is not the problem, what the NHS needs is a method of organising this information into a user friendly format that is readily accessible for health care professionals and their managers throughout healthcare to use in their own environments. The NHS GATHER system fulfils this need, it offers a dynamic relationship between providers and recipients of innovative ideas and then provides the tools for implementation and improvement. It is an outward looking and customer focused system that could set the standard for cloud based information platforms in healthcare innovation.
Tim Trebble, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Portsmouth Hospitals
Innovation Guides are a valuable resource that all health and social care staff should have at their fingertips. We often ask the questions 'has that been tried before?, did it work?' And then don't know where to find the learning that we can build upon in our practice. Innovation guides not only tell you what did work but also what didn't, to prevent you making the same mistakes and reinventing the wheel. Easy access to information that has relevance to innovation and changing practice to improve lives of staff and patients whom we serve should form part of everyone's day job to support service improvement.
Joanne Harding, Associate Director of Transformation, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust
Concise and practical guides to help those involved in delivering service improvement.
Malcolm Senior, Director of informatics at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
NHS GATHER provides the real key to effective project management by forcing you (in the nicest possible way) to get your project's structure and accountability right from the very start. We used NHS GATHER as the central place for all our projects to improve the way community teams work using digital technology. NHS GATHER's user friendly interface allowed us to share projects with a range of professionals including those in community teams. Being able to share the one update with a range of organisations is helpful and supports fully joined up working. The tool is intuitive to use and is well received by a range of community staff including health visitors, quality managers and PMO leads alike as it is easy to understand and follow. It is easy to make changes to documents and update plans.
Ruth Gordon, Project Manager, Children and Maternity Services, Leeds CCGs and Strategy Development, Leeds North CCG
A way of making it easy for people to pick up and adopt proven innovations would be really helpful in the NHS. Making case studies clear and simple for others to access and understand isn't easy to do on your own and takes a lot of thought. The concept of NHS GATHER is a good one.
Anne Marlow, Director of Innovation, Health Education East Midlands
I personally think this is a good way of gathering best practice that is happening in the region, and then share this with everyone. I believe this will then help healthcare professionals and managers to find out more information on various innovations that are taking place and get in contact with each other if they are interested in adapting some of the projects listed on the innovation guide in their own trusts/areas. This way, we would be able to reduce duplication of work as well.
Muhammad Waseem Shahzad, Project Dissemination Co-ordinator, Health Education East Midlands
Regarding the differences that NHS GATHER are seeking to make, I think the concept of an online resource for searching innovative ideas to guide future improvements elsewhere is a great idea. I think in the NHS a lot of individuals are wanting to drive improvement through innovation but can be a bit unsure on the process to do so.
Staff member, Health Education East Midlands
NHS GATHER is providing a mechanism for frontline staff to learn about the best improvements made across the NHS, so that we don't have to keep re-inventing the wheel.
Rob Bethune, Surgical registrar, clinical advisor to South West Academic Health Science Network, and co-founder of The Network
In my experience as a clinical innovator, one of the biggest risks to the success of projects (and a source of enormous stress), can be a lack of effective project management. For someone like me, without great IT expertise-whose main interest is keeping systems simple so that we can focus on the clinical service-that is a major hurdle. Whilst there are a plethora of project management tools out there, none seem to have to flexibility, usability and reach of NHS GATHER. Making this more available within the NHS could transform our delivery of projects, hasten their translation into clinical reality, as well as link up best practice in the country so that the greatest number of people can benefit from new and effective ways of improving clinical care.
Dr Paul Turner, GP and Mental Health Clinical Lead, Birmingham South Central CCG
Nicholas Cork, Chair of Student Committee, Royal Society of Medicine and a Health Service Journal Top Innovator of 2014
From 2010 to 2012 NHS GATHER was developed by the NHS Institute of Innovation and Improvement.
In 2013 successful large-scale deployments were carried out via the 3millionlives programme.
Following the closure of the Institute, the GATHER family of social media tools for front line public sector staff to share cost saving and service improvement ideas as online Innovation Guides is provided by Role Modellers.
In 2014 NHS England awarded KSS AHSN £50000 from the Regional Innovation Fund to develop and promote NHS GATHER.