The Secret to Engaging General Practice and Getting Your Projects Noticed

It’s frustrating when you have the answers to a problem but no-one will listen.

The thing is, the problem isn’t always with what you have to offer, it’s often more likely how you offer it.

When your systems aren’t working like they used to. You need to refresh your ideas.

Four key ways to engage General Practice

  1. STAKEHOLDERS – Involve all stakeholders at an early stage to get buy in – or risk your change project coming at them top down, which they are more likely to resist.
  2. IMPACT – Address how you positively impact the workforce and/or workload, while supporting the development of Primary Care Networks and Integrated Care Systems. You need to rethink the current delivery model. But, unless you are clear that’s what you’re doing, you risk slipping into what’s gone before, only trying harder.
  3. APPROACH – Embrace a different approach. If you simply keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you have always got! Unless you and your client are 100% happy with current outcomes, you’ll need to change your input to drive a new and improved outcome.
  4. PREPARATION – Be prepared for resistance – For those who do decide to rethink their delivery models you’re very likely to meet resistance. People don’t like change and they definitely don’t like change that’s imposed on them.

Get your stakeholders on board

When it comes to change, we often use a once successful management approach, where a parallel organisation exists – the steering group or subcommittee approach – with the chosen few making decisions for the many.  We then only engage with stakeholders once the direction or initial plans have been created. While this process once worked, in today’s environment it is no longer fit for purpose.

If people aren’t involved from the beginning, they are more likely to resist and obstruct change, even when the ideas are good. People recognise they are being sold something rather than being asked for their input from the start.

It’s time to drop the ‘top-down’ management model

With Health and Social Care in the midst of one of its most difficult periods since it came into being, managing rising patient demand and expectations, increasingly complex health and social care needs, increasing costs and falling income, the top down model is doomed, as people will resist even the best ideas if they are imposed.

Whether it’s changing an entire system or organisation, or something as specific as a pathway of care, there is a model that will give you a successful and sustainable outcome; one you can replicate each time you deliver future change projects.

Self-selected engagement is critical for effective change

Our approach is founded on principles of the engagement and inclusivity of all stakeholders involved in the process. We let people self-select their engagement with the programme of work, whether it’s a pathway redesign, system change, practice merger, development of a Primary Care Network or Integrated Care System or any other form of change. We never impose anything top down.

Whilst challenging, this ensures the vision created is one developed by all those who have a role to play, whatever that role. This leads to buy-in and ownership of what your programme creates. The group coming together will deliver a critical mass for change.

Whether 9, 90 or 900 self-select, let them all play a part. There is nothing better than a self-selected group owning the problem and then the creation of the solution, to see change come to life. When people create the solution, they want to implement – which means the change is implemented.

The process starts with winning hearts and minds to engage people to self-select their involvement. From there it becomes about developing the vision for your project and then agreeing how to plan the implementation. It needn’t take months; this process is designed to be short and to the point, keeping people engaged and motivated.

Be prepared to ignore convention

In any change project we keep in mind that, ideally, we want a group prepared to think differently, definitely prepared to swim against the tide (and break the cycle of ‘but that’s the way we have always done it’) and absolutely prepared to ignore convention in their quest for remarkable outcomes.

Focus on patient outcomes and the benefits will flow

In terms of approach, aim to demonstrate the positive impact on workload. But first focus on delivering better patient outcomes. Then you’ll naturally lead onto workload, as when you focus on patient outcomes, all the things they want (e.g. reduced attendance, referral, admission, bed days etc), will follow.

If we give patients early intervention to slow disease progression, the more advanced/mature PCNs and Federations will see the possibilities of investing in your pathway to improve patient outcomes. They’ll also recognise this will reduce attendance in the NHS throughout the system leading to:

  • reduced referrals
  • reduced admissions
  • reduced length of stay/bed days.

All this, while driving ongoing efficiency through preventing the development of disease and/or slowing disease progression.

The next time you’re presented with the opportunity for a change, will you opt for the top down command and control, subcommittee led change, or will you strive for the self-selected, problem-owning and solution-creating group of motivated individuals that want to develop and implement their solution?

I know, for our NHS clients, it will always be the latter. That’s why we can point to so many examples of remarkable projects within the NHS where they partnered with our Pharma, Medical Technology and Devices companies. We have examples that have placed the right patient in the right place at the right time, with the right clinical staff and with the right resources available to deliver the care required.

If you want to replicate those remarkable pathway projects with your clients please schedule a call so we can explore your challenges and identify the solution. From there we’ll develop the right strategy to achieve your goals. You can then relax knowing you’re finally targeting all the right people and are equipped with the skills you need for future success.

Scott McKenzie UK helps pharmaceutical, medical technology and device firms increase revenue by getting their products and services in front of the right NHS decision makers. If you want to get your products fully embedded into treatment pathways, we can help you. We’ve doubled revenue for our clients and can share these processes with you too. Download your free guide: click here

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