Mind the gap!

Published: 15 May 2019 Ezine

In the Synergy News ‘blog’ this month I talk about gap analysis.  Most of you will be aware of this quality improvement tool and those of you who have undertaken the UKAS accreditation journey will be very familiar with their gap analysis tool – the Traffic Light Ready (TLR) system. 

If you ask anyone who has been through the accreditation process, I am sure they will tell you that the gap analysis can be onerous and time consuming.  Ensuring your policies and protocols are where you think they were, updating, auditing and finally evidencing your claims that all is in place to meet the imaging standard.

Whilst researching for this month’s Synergy article, I came across this phrase: “gap analysis can be described as a tool you use to identify where you or the organisation are not working to full potential, then using that information to plan ways to improve and release potential."

To be honest I have never seen or heard gap analysis described that way before, and I found it inspiring.

Why inspiring? To realise that finding what may be missing gives opportunity to fill the gap with something positive, a potential to be better than I am at the moment. When I thought about it in terms of teams I have led, I wish I had taken that approach more and been brave enough to say to others you have potential to fill the gap with something better than we have at the moment.

Sometimes we allow ourselves and our teams to be straightjacketed by the phrase “it will do, that’s good enough”. 

Do we, as professionals, want to lead teams which just do enough to get by, that are ‘good enough’, or do we want our teams to be challenged to make a difference letting their potential have full reign. 
I think when we allow our teams to innovate, think differently about the gaps in their part of the service, we see innovation, efficiency, greater patient care and, dare I say, happier, motivated teams. 
I know the reality is often different to the text book; work is pressured with staff shortages, funding shortfalls, performance targets etc. Teams are tired and often disillusioned as the job becomes something removed from profession they trained for. 

However, using gap analysis to positively influence your teams and your service can remind us all why we became radiographers in the first place; the job satisfaction of having made a positive difference to our patients and our fellow team members. 

Quality improvement is impossible without understanding where the gaps in your service are; gap analysis is one of the first steps to releasing the potential your teams have to innovate and improve. 

The other advantage is that it allows you to share the load, encouraging others to grow and develop; at least you will have something positive for their personal development plan.
Fed up with the same ‘banter’ from me why not think about contributing yourself?  If you have something to say that will enlighten your colleagues on quality and the imaging standard why not drop me a line, a guest contributor is always welcome.