When we built Forward we had a lot to learn. We saw that communication in hospitals was messy and ineffective, and that professionals needed a better, safer way of sharing information. Back then we saw the challenge as straight(forward). We hoped Forward would improve patient care, and increase morale in the battered NHS workforce.
It turned out, though, that Forward was creating new ways of communicating, and new ways of working. Doctors and nurses weren’t using Forward the way they had used the pager system, or even WhatsApp. Suddenly, they were forging new connections, building new teams, and collaborating in ways we couldn’t have predicted.
As we heard how Forward was used, we got to thinking, are we still the organisation we thought we were back then? Staff told us how Forward enabled them to speak up as they battled bursting emergency departments, collaborate better on chronically understaffed wards, how it helped keep patients in the community and out of hospital. We asked ourselves, are we still just a messaging app, “for the ward”?
Forward has surpassed its founders. Our users are everywhere, not just on hospital wards. They’re in the community, they’re visiting people’s homes, they’re first on the scene of an accident, they’re in the back of ambulances and, sometimes, they’re in their own home on their own sofa, reviewing crucial patient information and giving life-saving advice.
How Forward became Pando
And that brings us to a tree. A pando tree. Also known as a “trembling giant”, it is the name for a species of Aspen, which is the largest living organism known. On the surface a pando looks like many individual trees, but just underground is its root, a single connected system.
Our network is organic, it’s growing, and it’s powerful. We’re creating the links that hold healthcare together, the infrastructure on which information can travel, safely. As Pando’s base of skilled and dedicated professionals grows, their ability to care for others grows too. Pando is forging and strengthening connections. Pando is building. Pando is spreading.
Where we go from here
We’ve created a living network, a growing, developing, branching, breathing ecosystem, just like a Pando tree. Our tool is designed to be used in any way our users want to use it. Our new name reflects the fact that we don’t know who’s going to take up Pando next, and what they’ll use it for – all we know is that healthcare professionals need this tool, and we’re providing it.
Three years ago, we set off on a journey, Forward. In those days, we didn’t know what we’d built. Pando is not where we started, but it’s what we’ve become. And we’re proud of that.