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Webinar Rewind: Achieving More Effective After-Action Reviews

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On January 26, 2022, we hosted a webinar on optimizing After-Action Reviews (AARs). Joining us was Abiomed, a pioneer and global leader in medical technologies that provide circulatory and oxygenation support. Abiomed’s company tagline “Recovering hearts. Saving lives” is literally what they do. Abiomed’s experience with the Shamaym platform speaks volumes about the power of effective AARs. In this webinar, we explored the ins and outs of their experience. Here’s what you missed if you couldn’t make it. Speakers: Noam Josephy, Senior Director of Clinical Science, Clinical Operations & Translational Research at Abiomed Yuval Zach, VP Customers at Shamaym Moderator: Tal Harel, Webinar ModeratorKaizen, the method for continually identifying incremental opportunities for progress and implementing them as soon as possible, team-wide, is seventy years old and more relevant than ever.

Noam introduced Abiomed and its activities, including its portfolio of heat pumps and other products across different indications and geographies, with several exclusive FDA and European approvals. 

Noam’s department is responsible for Abiomed’s clinical trials. The number of medical trials Abiomed is conducting has grown rapidly. Abiomed will have 250 active research sites in the next 18 months.

Every clinical study at every site requires site initiation, which involves teams working at the sites with a sizable number of people, including research coordinators, investigators, institutional review boards, ethics committees, doctors, and patients.

The team is measured by how fast and how effectively they conduct the initiation, with a quality metric of how quickly patients are lined up, and we can start the trial.

 So after every initiation, the team conducts an After Action Review, see what mistakes were made and improve the following initiation.

Abiomed already had an AAR process in place and viewed it as key for ongoing learning, especially clinical science and life science experiments. Abiomed’s AAR process was first implemented about six years ago and helped continuous learning become an integral part of the company culture. 

So, what led Abiomed to look for an AAR solution? 

Abiomed has been growing rapidly. Noam’s team, for example, went from under 50 people last year to over 100 this year. “When you grow so rapidly, you make mistakes,” explained Noam. “But it’s good to make mistakes only if you learn from them.” 

“Site initiation is a big event, a complex event. We measured our quickly, we turned this around, and the site is ready to go.

Abiomed’s AAR system offered employees helpful information, but as files sat in different folders, the whole system was more siloed than shared.  Abiomed wanted to scale the learning process across teams, departments, and geographical locations. So, they came to Shamaym. 

Yuval Zach Shared View of the Shamaym Platform

Yuval showed an example of clinical research debriefs. He also showed how debriefs can be customized. For instance, AARs can consist of multiple-choice, open-ended, or both. 

The number of learnings can be predefined by each company for efficiency, to focus on the important lessons. Noam, for example, put the number of classes per AAR at three tops. 

The time employees have to fill out an AAR form, too, can be customized. Fe companies a, a week may be sufficient while for others such as Abiomed, 3-4 days is the limit. 

The Shamaym-Abiomed partnership 

Formed about a year ago, the Shamaym-Abiomed partnership brought Abiomed a structure more accessible, and actionable AAR process. According to Yuval, Shamaym’s continuous improvement platform has helped Abiomed offer better learning opportunities – whether these have to do with site openings, patient registrations, physician training, or other activities. 

With Shamaym, Abiomed AARs achieved higher readability and accessibility. 

Thanks to classifications, tags, indexing, and search functions both existing and new members of the clinical trial teams can now find exactly what they are looking for, almost instantly. 

Instant accessibility to AARs across hundreds of sites means team members learn from their own team’s past experiences as well as from other teams. They can share this knowledge with other relevant individuals, teams, and departments. 

Teams running similar trials and tasks began to learn from each other in a more efficient way. 

AAR became an ingrained post-action process and tool for personal improvement, as well as team improvement.

Transitioning to Shamaym

Noam brought up another important aspect: the transition to the Shamaym platform was seamless. It’s one thing to build something from scratch, quite another to change an existing system. Shamaym, he said, made it very easy to switch to a new platform. With Shamaym, Abiomed made sure its AAR process didn’t take longer than before. They were pleased that it was easy to use, that it was integrable into the everyday work of the Abiomed employees, and did not burden their schedule. 

Key takeaways 

Learnings are useful if they are implementable and actionable. With Shamaym, Abiomed managers were able to get a deeper look into the on-the-ground facts and follow up on whether and how learnings were implemented. 

Targeted information consumption is a must. With tags, categories, and indexes, employees can find the exact learning opportunities they need, without losing precious time. 

Improving the company culture. Shamaym is a facilitator of culture change. When AARs become part of everyday life, learning becomes ingrained in the company culture. While Abiomed already had such a culture in place, with Shamaym the practice of AARs became ingrained and communication much more open. As a result, the number of mistakes dropped. 

Better onboarding. Shamaym’s platform effectively creates a database of best practices. As employees log in what they have done well and what they could have done better, a repository of best practices forms. Any future employee, whether entry-level or management, can learn from the company’s past experiences, positive and negative. 

To learn more about how Abiomed leveraged the Shamaym platform, you can watch our 30-min webinar recording here

 
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