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Helen Elliott-Mainwaring

Area of study
Fellowship level
Year awarded
Host university
Department of Health Sciences supported by School of Business
University of Leicester
Helen is a midwife and former adult nurse with three decades of healthcare experience in the NHS. She is passionate about the delivery of safe, compassionate patient care, and invested in improving the staff experience of delivering intelligent healthcare.
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The role of visual management tools for the coordination of teams in healthcare


Electronic and paper-based visual management tools are used to coordinate teams in healthcare. But what impact do they have on staff and patient experiences?

This project will look at the use of visual management tools to promote patient safety and improve staff and patient experiences. The objective of this research is to explore how maternity healthcare staff experience escalation in practice through use of visual tools to open a conversational space about future safety in maternity services in England.


This thesis explores staff experiences of the transition to digitalisation using specific visual tools as a lens for enquiry. These escalation tools are used to relay information quickly, incorporating situational awareness, monitoring, coordination, and patient rescue. Escalation of care is the process by which staff ask each other for help.

Three familiar escalation tools were employed as a focus for qualitative inquiry: early warning scores for deteriorating patients, sepsis and risk tools for individual patients. Socio-technical systems theory was applied to better understand staff experiences of escalating concerns using these tools in the transition to digitalisation. The research includes interviews with staff and an analysis of national reports and guidelines.


Helen’s virtual ePoster and oral presentation for RCOG World Congress 2023:

Elliott-Mainwaring, H; Bateman, N; Macintosh, N (2023) What is asking for help like for staff working in maternity services? Research abstract PP.0016. BJOG (British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology):  Top Scoring Abstracts of the RCOG World Congress 2023 Special Issue – Quality Improvement. 13 June Vol 130 Issue 52 p.174

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