Whole Systems Partnership

The Whole Systems Partnership (WSP) provides support in partnership and strategy development for clients in health and social care.

They help to develop new insights and deliver improvements through engagement and the use of simulation software where appropriate.

Improving relationships to benefit health and social care

The aim of this Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) was to develop, refine, and validate an approach to measuring the quality of relationships in the health and social care sector, then to develop a software tool to assess those relationships, with the ultimate aim of enhancing the likelihood of positive outcomes for clients.

Having developed this robust quantitative and qualitative relational evaluation methodology, the target was to apply this to complex organisations to assess their relational health. It is envisaged that in the longer term this robust evidence base will enable WSP to produce realistic predictive models to show potential clients the benefits of such an assessment, and to evidence knowledge about the contribution healthy relationships make to the effective delivery of health and social care.

Developing a robust methodology

The project has underpinned WSP’s existing work, using academic knowledge concerning the contribution that healthy working relationships make to effective delivery of health and social care. This has formed the basis for developing a robust, innovative and practical method of assessing relational health.

Translating the robust evidence obtained during the KTP into a framework and software tool that can be applied by the company in many other consultancy situations has led to the growth and development of a new business strand for WSP.

This new business consultancy stream has enabled WSP to access a new networkof associates who can apply the framework in a variety of health and care organisations not previously known to the business.

Heather Wheeler, WSP, said: “The KTP has enabled a ‘good idea’ to develop into a sound and innovative business strand that has the potential to make a real difference in our field of work.”

Presenting the academic outputs

The partners have presented the research to a variety of industry audiences, with further benefits for the University including two academic publications, and the lessons from the project have been presented at conferences. The KTP Associate was central to new knowledge and understanding being embedded in the company.

Dr Elaine McNichol, Academic Supervisor on the project, added: “It has been an excellent experience being part of a KTP and a rare opportunity to undertake product development in ‘real time’, managing the challenge of conducting rigorous research whilst being responsive to the needs of industry to be flexible and responsive to a changing commercial environment.”

WSP is engaged in a number of international networks where the KTP outcomes are being shared. The networks provide opportunities for presentations and discussion about disseminating and using the outcomes more widely.

The academic and the company have further plans to work together in the future.

Find out if a Knowledge Transfer Partnership could help your business by contacting the KTP team at the University of Leeds at ktp@leeds.ac.uk

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