We caught up with Tiba Rao, Director of Innovation and Co-founder, Soar Beyond Ltd; the SMART workforce platform helping health and social care teams to manage and accelerate safe workforce capability development and impact to meet individual, organisational and system needs.
Tell us about your innovation in a sentence
The SMART workforce platform helps you to manage, integrate and accelerate the impact of your clinical and non-clinical team members using innovative competency assessment and capability mapping tools.
What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?
As a provider of clinical services and training to primary care, we needed to set and manage expectations of what new roles could deliver safely and competently from day one in practice and what they were working towards. I scribbled three concentric circles on a piece of paper and asked the team “what if we had a tool that you could drag and drop competencies into and define clearly what is ‘out of scope’, ‘stretch’ and ‘in scope’ and additionally, what if you could watch your circle of competence physically grow as you and your team develops?”.
The simplicity of the concept, the visual nature and relatable language immediately captured interest – we started doing this in poster and sticker format at face to face training workshops then evolved this to an interactive tool on our i2i and SMART platforms. SMART can now capture this individually and collectively with bespoke clinical and leadership competencies for any established or novel role at team, organisation, practice, department and even system-level now!
What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?
1. “Conceive, Believe and Achieve” – adapted from Napoleon Hill
2. Start small but think HUGE!
3. Sell, then build!
What’s been your toughest obstacle?
Going through so many demos and pitches with NHS personnel in 2021 from practice-level to federation to NHSE and AHSN-level – all of whom immediately grasped and valued the SMART Workforce platform only to say “but I don’t know how to pay for it, which pot of money would it come from?” – it can be very testing and we often feel like truffle hogs foraging for the truffles at times!
What’s been your innovator journey highlight?
Co-desiging the SMART workforce solution based on real customer needs. For example, we provided visibility and clinical assurance for the whole of the national programme in Northern Ireland (350 GP Pharmacists across 17 federations with 30+ line managers”
Of course, being selected to take part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme in 2022 – knowing that others also believe in the transformative nature of the SMART Platform.
Best part of your job now?
Having the freedom to innovate and evolve solutions to meet customer needs and best of all, seeing the real impact and difference our services have on confidence and competence of HCPs.
If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?
Overcome resistance to change.
A typical day for you would include…
My days are quite long and I tend to do most of my thinking and creativity in the morning if possible.
Quick check-in on our “musts” for the week with the Soar Beyond team.
Some social media – Twitter or LinkedIn.
Pitches and exploratory meetings with pharma or NHS clients.
Internal scoping meetings on project delivery or product development.
Interview published here: https://healthinnovationnetwork.com/insight/meet-the-innovator-tiba-rao/
Today Soar Beyond is proud to announce that they are one of the 21 digital health companies selected for DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator programme for its SMART Platform. The 21 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) selected for the Accelerator 2022 programme have digital solutions or services that have the highest potential to meet London’s NHS and social care challenges.
Now in its sixth consecutive year, the NHS-delivered programme, match funded by the European Regional Development Fund, has supported some of the most effective digital innovations now being used by the NHS.
Jenny Thomas, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London, said:
“We are delighted to announce today the 21 digital health companies joining our sixth DigitalHealth.London Accelerator cohort. The application process for this year’s programme was competitive as ever and as such, the final 21 companies truly are the ones to watch in the digital health space. We look forward to working with them and continuing to play our part in supporting the NHS and social care through digital transformation.”
Shailen Rao, Managing Director, Soar Beyond Limited, said:
“Soar Beyond is honoured and excited to have our SMART platform selected as a digital innovation as part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme and we look forward to the wealth of support and expertise this programme. We innovated the SMART platform to address the eternal NHS struggle with recruitment, development and retention of workforce using our understanding of the challenges integrating the GP clinical pharmacist role. This milestone marks an exciting chapter making 2022 the year we scale up SMART to deliver wider workforce and healthcare transformation at system, pathway and population-level”
Sonia Patel, Chief Information Officer, NHSX, said:
“The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme has established itself as an important player in supporting the NHS and social care to make the most of the opportunities digital health offers. I look forward to seeing the next group of innovators bringing their solutions to London’s NHS.”
DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator aims to speed up the adoption of technology in London’s NHS, relieving high pressure on services and empowering patients to manage their health. for every £1 spent on the programme through the AHSNs, £12.70 is saved for the NHS*. It works with around 20 high potential SMEs over a 12-month period, giving bespoke support and advice, a programme of expert-led workshops and events, and brokering meaningful connections between innovators and NHS organisations with specific challenges. The companies successful in getting onto the Accelerator programme have been chosen through a rigorous and highly competitive selection process, involving expert NHS and industry panel assessments, interviews, and due diligence checks.
This year the companies on the programme will benefit from international partnerships with two US Accelerators, Cedars-Sinai and Mass Challenge**. The two partnerships will provide opportunities for the companies to network with global peers, showcase their products/services to key international stakeholders and gain the tools to navigate a new global market.
DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Interim Evaluation report available to download here: digitalhealth.london/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Digital-Health-Accelerator_Interim-Report_v1-2.pdf
** Cedars-Sinai partnership announcement:
Mass Challenge partnership announcement: https://digitalhealth.london/digitalhealth-london-and-masschallenge-partner-to-support-international-adoption-of-us-and-uks-best-health-tech
"We commissioned SMART for our pharmacy workforce in March 2020 recognising that we had ambitious plans to rapidly expand the workforce in the next two years and that we needed a structured framework to ensure standardised delivery of the clinical pharmacist and technician role across our 6 PCNs.
The support we commissioned, including 4D Accelerator sessions with our senior pharmacists, ensured a shared vision and agreed set of competencies as well as a delivery plan for the service. This enabled us to use the SMART platform to quickly create a map of baseline competencies and capabilities which highlighted and identified training and development needs. We now have a focused development plan and set of agreed service milestones, KPIs including DES deliverables like SMRs; best of all, we have visibility of all of these to share with our PCNs. Having expanded our team rapidly to already having 25 clinical pharmacists and 6 technicians, SMART has been vital in providing assurance to the PCNs about the quality of the pharmacy workforce and has given us all clarity of service deliverables and priorities. Because Soar Beyond also has the i2i Network, we have been delighted that we are now addressing one of our key development needs around managing frail older patients by implementing a federation-wide quality improvement (QI) initiative including training, upskilling and systematic review and management.
I feel the structure of the SMART platform and the wrap-around support of the Soar Beyond team has been instrumental in helping us to rapidly standardise and provide a quality service and would recommend this for services- both large and small."
Juliet Fletcher -Senior Meds Optimisation Pharmacist and Senior Lead Pharmacist for Sunderland GP Alliance
“We chose Soar Beyond to help us develop and implement our Pharmacy Activation Strategy because of their heritage and expertise in primary care pharmacy; they really understand the various pharmacy sectors and their relative importance for our portfolio of products. Not only have they helped us to map the entire patient journey and potential interventions, but they have supported us to identify the service and workforce development opportunities so that we have a clear short, medium, and long-term vision and matching value offer that will drive market access of our brands.”
Marketing Director, Top 10 Global Pharmaceutical Company
"Soar Beyond’s QI (Quality Improvement) pods are an innovative, interactive way of engaging an interested cohort of customers, galvanising their desire to make QI change and providing them with the structure and support to do this well. Through an expression of interest process, Soar Beyond has been facilitating these QI pods to help equip the frailty champions to drive the QI in their practices. We now have developed a frailty QI community through the pods which is really helping us to build relationships with these GP Clinical Pharmacists for us as a company and supporting patient and process QI implementation. Having the QI pods as a value offer to drive implementation has been a key part of our delivery and implementation strategy."
Hannah Harding, Senior Scientific Affairs Manager, Nutricia.
"Novo Nordisk has been working with Soar Beyond since 2016 to support NHS organisations, to optimise their pathways and clinical services, using the Soar Beyond proprietary 4D™ methodology in facilitated stakeholder meetings. This started with Soar Beyond’s consultancy and expertise in delivering 4D™ change programmes. Due to the success of this approach, we have now rolled out an intensive upskilling programme for our field based market access team, whereby they become accredited to apply the 4D™ methodology to support service optimisation. I’ve enjoyed the collaborative approach with Soar Beyond to create market access solutions to meet both our business and NHS customer needs"
Hasseena Winter, National Market Access Manager
"Having worked with Soar Beyond on a number of training and NHS partnering projects at different companies, I have found them to be very responsive to our needs and to ensure the subject matter is both relevant and informative. As they work at the cutting edge with the NHS directly, the additional offerings around tool kits to support healthcare professionals are forward thinking and absolutely in line with the NHS agenda. For example, the i2i toolkit which they have developed for our disease area focus has attracted huge interest from medicines management and primary care network pharmacists. This provides a platform on which we can act as peer level partners in the improved management of patients whilst provide us with commercial opportunities in line with this agenda. I would wholeheartedly recommend working with Shailen and his team."
Colin Smith, Head of Field Sales, Alliance Pharma