Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) has launched Project Imagine, a novel framework designed to encourage innovation at all levels within the organization. Project Imagine is based on the concept of crowd sourcing innovation ideas that can lead to efficiencies in work processes or patient care services.
Project Imagine is the brainchild of Dr. Deepak Kaura, Executive Chair – Foundation Medical Services and Dr. Avez Rizvi, Division Chief – Center for Medical Innovation, Software, and Technology at Sidra. It was launched with the enthusiastic support of Sidra Chief Executive Officer, Peter Morris and Chief Operating Officer, Morag Gates.
Dr. Deepak Kaura said, “Our approach to encouraging innovation from within is to make sure that all our staff have an opportunity to contribute ideas in an open, constructive and transparent process. Ideas can come from anyone, whether a nurse, personal assistant or the CEO. These may be ideas that create efficiencies in work processes and care services, or they might be technology innovations that positively affect patient experience and outcomes.”
Ideas are generated by Sidra staff and a five member Innovation Review Council (IRC) determines the finalists, culminating in a Sidra wide pitch day. Finalists pitch their ideas to staff who are at the event or watching via live stream. Attendees and live stream viewers, vote for the idea they liked best or found to be the most useful.
Sidra Chief Executive Officer, Peter Morris, who attends the pitch days said, “Project Imagine is a way of harnessing the imagination and energy of our very talented and committed people and turn great ideas into action and patient benefit. We value innovation and the wealth of creativity in our people.”
“I always find our pitch days both exciting and inspiring. The excitement in knowing that you are going to be hearing some fantastic ideas for making things better for patients and staff. The inspiration from seeing the passion and enthusiasm of our staff. And bringing great ideas into action inspires even more. Our focus here is quite simply to deliver better services more efficiently.” Mr. Morris continued.
Substantial early successes are already evident, including a number of innovative applications to enhance patient experience and provide better care for patients, families and staff. Some of the apps developed at Sidra are the first of their kind in the country and possibly the region. With names such as Saffara, Code Blue and Sidra Stream – the apps have been developed from scratch, with seven apps currently in use or ready for launch.
“Many of the applications that we have developed at Sidra, have the potential to be adopted in other hospitals as well. We have plans for several patents and technology transfer functions and have already applied for three patents! We are also in the process of taking the innovation from Sidra outside of Qatar – we are developing our intellectual property so that hospitals anywhere in the world can consider applying these applications within their own environments. The innovation from Sidra has a strong potential of going global,” concluded Dr. Kaura.
Sidra is unique in having the region’s only hospital based in-house development team – the Center for Medical Innovation, Software, and Technology (CMIST), which develops and supports many of the applications created to date. After pitch day, CMIST members review the feasibility of the ideas – the ease at which they can be prototyped, iterated and released as well as the resources required to bring them to fruition. Other stakeholders who play a key role in the review and roll-out of the apps include teams from IT, process improvement and executive management, legal, administration and as well as the clinical departments.
About some of the applications from Project Imagine
Saffara, which means whistle in Arabic, is an application that stemmed from an idea pitched by Dr. Ben Lee, a neonatology physician and the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Sidra. Dr. Lee suggested that patients be sent a text message in English and Arabic, when it is their turn to be seen by a service in the hospital. For example, “Your medication is ready to pick up from the pharmacy” or “Your physician is ready to see you”. This allows the patient to use the waiting time as they like, outside of the traditional waiting room or nursing station where patients typically wait until their turn is called.
“Saffara is connected directly with our electronic medical record system at Sidra, making it different than other vendor queuing systems. This allows for an integrated patient notification experience, so that our patients can comfortably wait in the café for their appointment or even from home for their medication refill – all without the stress of having to worry that they may miss their turn. Saffara is currently in use within our Outpatient Pharmacy and we plan to expand it to other patient related services offered by Sidra,” said Dr. Lee.
Sidra Stream is currently in the final stages of development. The project was headed by Mr. Saleh Al-Marri, Head – Audio Visual, Field Devices and Telecommunications. It was developed in collaboration with CMIST, IT, and telecommunications. It will be used to live-stream meetings and planning sessions across the organization. It also connects team members who are unable to join due to scheduling conflicts – allowing staff to stay informed of decisions and upcoming activities in the hospital.
“Sidra Stream can be efficiently used to immediately share key outcomes from important meetings and events – whether planning sessions, board meetings and even our own Project Imagine pitch days. This allows people to keep on top of priority items that are discussed without having to wait for instructions to trickle down. I also believe it will help manage meetings better – no one likes meetings to go on for too long!” said Mr. Saleh Al-Marri. “Sidra Stream is accessible internally only to the staff of Sidra. Such an internal live stream is the first of its kind in Qatar. It has educational value and many other purposes.”
Another innovation developed in-house at Sidra is Code Blue, an application for emergency response. It is used to alert members of a particular clinical team about emergency situations at the press of a button.
The alert can be initiated via smartphone or through a web application. As soon the button is pressed, it immediately alerts emergency staff via millisecond notifications, with an alarm that will reach all the members of the team. It can identify when the code alarm occurred and who started it as well which team members responded to the situation and showed up for action. The back end of the application includes a dashboard which can be used to pick teams, assign members, and on-call statuses. It also allows analytics on how many codes were sent out on a day and what were the responses.
“Code Blue is practical for a hospital like setting – particularly during an emergency. With a large hospital like ours, traditional methods might not be possible to inform each member of an emergency team individually and immediately. The app can connect as many members as possible and mobilize them immediately. It gives the exact location and some other information such as the most common condition of the patient or the situation. It is completely operational,” said Dr. Avez Rizvi, Division Chief – Center for Medical Innovation, Software, and Technology at Sidra, who helped design the app.