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How to deliver an effective Floorwalking Programme

With any health systems implementation, a carefully planned and professionally delivered floorwalking project can reduce the time taken to realise the benefits of a new EPR. It will limit the disruption to patient care standards and foster an environment where system use is encouraged and end users feel empowered to carry out tasks whilst following their new workflows.

To achieve these benefits, floorwalking support must be tailored to the requirements of your organisation and the systems you are implementing. This requires careful planning and consideration as to the end users whose roles will be impacted by the go-live, where they are located, when they are working and the specific workflows they will be required to follow.

The selection, vetting and training of the floorwalking team is key, based on both their interpersonal skills as well as their knowledge of the systems. Additionally, the scheduling and management of the team is vital as this can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of the floorwalking project.

Here are some key points that will help you deliver an effective floorwalking programme for your health systems go-live:

This stage is crucial in determining the appropriate number of support staff for your go-live and where and when support is needed. Your floorwalking supplier will conduct an on-site assessment of each department, identifying:

  • How many floorwalkers are needed,
  • Which specific workflows that staff in each area will be using,
  • The physical layout of the department,
  • Operational hours,
  • Shift handover timings,
  • Quantity of staff,
  • Identifying the lead staff member in each department,
  • Escalation process to be followed by eprotocol will be used by end users.

By completing this assessment, your floorwalking supplier can produce a formulated plan on the quantity of floorwalkers required and particular skills needed to support each department as well as the operational hours that support will be required.

Once an initial estimate for support is created, your floorwalking supplier should then consider:

  • Evaluating the Trust’s internal capacity to support go-live: By establishing the quantity of staff you have available, they can supplement this support with floorwalkers to meet the increased demand during go-live and reduce the overall cost of the floorwalking service.
  • Training levels across your organisation: The availability of training staff to provide at-the-elbow support during go-live, champion/super user quantities and availability, escalation process and quantity of helpdesk resources.
  • Scheduling considerations: At go-live, support is often required across a 24-hour period and floorwalkers can supplement effectively, freeing up internal staff to rest during this stressful period.

The next step is to work collaboratively with the supplier to create:

  • A schedule of all available support staff across both day and night shifts: Initially this should be populated with your internal staff who will understand both the clinical workflows within the department, but also how they system should be utilised alongside these workflows.
  • Identify gaps in cover: By identifying where and when staff are available to support end users, potential gaps can be supplemented with external floorwalking support provided by the supplier.

In my experience, for the first 2-weeks of go-live, comprehensive cover should be provided. This accounts for teething issues commonly encountered, such as, access issues, missed training sessions and staff absences, providing an appropriate time period for these issues to be resolved and for end users to ask for support as they become familiar with their workflows.

Once you have identified a need to supplement your internal support staff with external floorwalkers, it is important to make sure that the floorwalking supplier ensures that the floorwalkers meet the appropriate skill sets and criteria to meet the needs of your go live. Often the underestimated key skill to consider is their interpersonal and soft skills. Go-live is a stressful period for your end users and floorwalkers should provide a calming presence, providing advice in a clear and supportive manner.

The supplier should undertake a thorough vetting, selection and assessment of all floorwalkers to assess their:

  • Interpersonal skills and aptitude for the role.
  • Technical knowledge of the system and the specific aspects of the system relevant to the areas of the hospital they will be supporting. This can be assessed through asking key technical questions related to your system, created by an internal subject matter expert (SME). By conducting this assessment, you can be sure that the floorwalkers will be able to appropriately support your end users.

Some floorwalking suppliers will provide further training on floorwalking skills and system skills to the team they are supplying to ensure that they are of the highest quality.

Once you have the team of floorwalkers, you need to align their knowledge with your specific workflows.

  • Step 1: Ensure that they review any eLearning or quick reference guides you have created for end users.
  • Step 2: You should conduct a localisation day, walking the floorwalkers through a training session on how your end users will be using the system, the escalation processes you will be using, and giving the floorwalkers a tour of the site to build familiarity with the layout and introducing them key staff in their areas to establish a relationship. Some floorwalking supplier companies such as ourselves handle this as part of a managed floorwalking service.

To effectively manage and optimise the performance of floorwalkers, partnering with a supplier of floorwalking services offers several distinct advantages:

Streamlined Management and Administration:

  • Organised Scheduling and Timekeeping: Floorwalking suppliers establish a structured sign-in and sign-out protocol, ensuring accurate timekeeping and efficient workforce management.
  • Daily Briefings and Knowledge Sharing: Regular morning and evening briefings convene all support staff to share project updates, key information, and resolutions to common queries, fostering continuous improvement.
  • Continuity of Care: Open tickets are smoothly transferred between shifts, maintaining seamless support and addressing end-user concerns promptly.
  • Expert Guidance: Subject matter experts (SMEs) attend daily briefings to provide in-depth insights and solutions to complex queries.

Enhanced Communication and Coordination:

  • Real-time Updates and Support Reallocation: A dedicated communication channel facilitates the exchange of updates between floorwalkers and the supplier, enabling dynamic support reallocation based on evolving onsite needs.
  • Break Coordination and Coverage: Suppliers coordinate breaks and ensure adequate coverage to maintain uninterrupted end-user support throughout the day and night.
  • Overall Service Efficiency: Suppliers take ownership of maintaining an efficient floorwalking service, optimising resource allocation and maximising the effectiveness of the floorwalker deployment.

It is important to establish a workflow for the triaging and escalation of queries captured by floorwalkers. They will need instructions on what to do if they encounter a query that they cannot resolve and the appropriate channel to escalate an issue for command centre resolution. It is paramount to establish these protocols prior to go-live to realise the benefits of floorwalker support and to alleviate the pressure on your help desk and command centre.

One key value add often missed by suppliers is root cause analysis of the queries resolved by floorwalkers. To do this a reporting protocol needs to be established, where floorwalkers record information about the location, role of end user, query type and resolution method for each time they support an end user. This information can then be generated into a daily report, which can be used to identify patterns and root causes. Command centre resources can then come up with an appropriate solution to tackle the recurring issues.

Finally, at the end of each shift the floorwalker supplier should review the support provided to each department, checking in with the staff in each area to see if they feel that cover is adequate and to determine how well they are getting on with using the new system. This information can be used to ascertain how long cover will be needed, and whether support can be reassigned to a different department to maintain overall efficiency of the floorwalking service.

From our two decades of experience delivering health systems floorwalking projects, we have found that these processes help to ensure a successful floorwalking project and create an environment where end users feel confident and supported to explore the functionality of your new health system.

If you want to learn more about our Floorwalking Services or have any questions about this post, please reach out to us on info@idealts.co.uk or give us a call on +44 (0)1483 453508

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  • “Ideal made a big difference. By using Ideal as the foundation of our floorwalking support, and augmenting this with Trust staff, we were able to ensure a constant, capable presence with our end-users 24/7. This would not have been possible without Ideal and reduced the impact on the wider Trust saving us from having to pause additional activity.”

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    Peter Bradbury EPR Programme Manager, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

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