Sophie Brooks, Co-Founder of Lister, shares her personal experiences of working as a clinician within the NHS, and how it inspired her to launch Lister, a clinical task management app.
Lister came from my own personal experiences whilst working on the wards. I remember forgetting to give a patient medication once and whilst no harm was caused, mentally, it affected me. I would often spend my shift in a whirlpool of thoughts, and to be honest, it was exhausting. I would be anxious that I had forgotten tasks, I couldn’t remember what I had completed and would often mentally take my work home with me. There were moments that my mental capacity was so saturated with everything I needed to do that the accumulated stress caused thoughts of not wanting to work on the wards anymore, which was heart-breaking because I love what I do.
In order to remember crucial patient information, there is a method that many clinicians revert to as an unspoken rule: writing it down. Whether it be a word document, excel sheet, or quite simply a scrap piece of paper (yes, we do this is 2022!) the majority will use this as a way of managing their tasks. This still seems to be the case regardless of the Trust’s digital maturity.
There are many frustrations with this inadequate process, so I went on a mission to digitise it. Enter, Lister.
Creating a sustainable solution within a real-life, faced paced environment
Staff stress and burnout are on the rise, according to a 2021 survey, with findings revealing that 18% of doctors (up from 12% in 2019) were planning to resign, 19% of nurses had active plans to leave, and 38% were considering quitting. With figures like these, it is vital now more than ever to protect the workforce by prioritising the wellbeing of NHS staff.
It’s been a long and important road to where we are now, on the verge of launching new designs and features. Historically, there has been a lack of clinical input in digital solutions. I have felt a disconnect between my work as a clinician and the digital technology that we are subjected to. However, there is work underway to overcome this and I aim to be a part of this change.
We have put in many hours of user research, design sprints, UX support, off-ward testing. We’ve also gathered insights from Digital Nurses and Midwives on the National Digital Shared Decision-Making Council, as well as engaging with many senior stakeholders in the NHS.
The critical inflection point to successfully digitising the task management process is whether or not we will be faster than ‘pen and paper’. This is key to ensuring a sustainable solution within the real-life, faced paced environment. As clinicians, we understand how crucial this is and it is reflected within our product engagement and new product features. We’ve created a range of time-saving features, such as quick jobs, job bundles, barcode scanning, and patient sharing.
At Lister, we believe that clinicians deserve a good user experience – why can’t tech in the NHS be as easy to use as the apps we use on our phones?
Never forget your experiences
Challenging but exciting times are ahead, as we are about to pilot our platform at an acute NHS trust.
It hasn’t been easy, lots of creative thinking, time and energy has gone into our newly improved product and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the DigitalHealth.London Launchpad programme. We have been supported by a great team who’ve helped us pinpoint and define the value of our product, as well as supporting us with our evidence standard.
As you are building a start-up, you must learn about every component a business consists of. Marketing was one aspect that I fell short on, but the DigitalHealth.London team helped to define the voice we wanted to portray. We have now implemented this into a social media and marketing strategy.
I have also enjoyed the female peer support in the (male-heavy) digital health-tech space. As a female Co-Founder it has been inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented women working in digital health.
Not everyone shares my vision, some people see a disconnect between task management and staff satisfaction, but I would politely challenge this…
People tend to say, fall in love with the problem and not the solution; whilst I see the validity of this, I have a different take. I say – never forget your experiences. I will never forget how it feels when you don’t deliver a time-sensitive task, or the distracted mind which is never fully engaged in your personal conversations leaving work after a busy shift. It is this (never forgotten) feeling that has driven me to persist with Lister and the reason I won’t give up.
Many state that task management isn’t new. While this is true – the problem hasn’t been solved. Lister’s recent survey showed that over 85% of clinicians still use paper or cognitive memory as their main method for managing these tasks.
If we can create a solution that holds our critical information so that we don’t have to, so that we leave work feeling reassured and never forget a task again, then I, as an NHS Clinician, will advocate for the huge impact this will have on both staff experience and patient safety.
If you’ve had similar experiences on wards, or you’d like to hear more about Lister, please do reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lister is part of the DigitalHealth.London Launchpad which is part of the Accelerator programme.
The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by two of London’s Academic Health Science Networks – UCL Partners and the Health Innovation Network, MedCity, CW+ and receives match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.