3 ways UK care providers should be reimagining healthcare

Technology can be touted as the cure-all for what ails the UK healthcare sector. But it can just as easily be part of the problem, if it isn’t implemented properly. To make the most of technology investments, healthcare providers need to be willing to ask hard questions about their organisational culture. In short – they need to be willing to reimagine business.

At this year’s EHI Live event in Birmingham, Microsoft Chief Envisioning Officer Dave Coplin told attendees that a study of U.S. workers found 71% of them are disengaged with their jobs. Workers become disengaged when they get bogged down in activities that feel like work but don’t actually accomplish much. Healthcare providers can reverse this trend, he added, but to do so they’ll need to re-examine several areas of their organisational culture.

Here are 3 of Dave Coplin’s suggestions for attendees at EHI Live 2013:

  • Stop multitasking: Sure, we feel like we’re being productive when we multitask. But when we try to juggle multiple tasks at once – like responding to e-mails during meetings – we end up processing information rather than actually thinking about it. Instead of getting distracted by technology and trying to do more at once, we need to learn mindfulness, he said.
  • Do more with data: Healthcare organisations need to rethink the latent power of patient data. Consider how Tesco was able to remake itself by developing a keener understanding of customer trends using data from customers’ Tesco ClubCard. Yes, the healthcare sector has to be able to respect users’ privacy, but it should also be capable of using anonymised data effectively. Imagine what we could learn about human beings if all NHS data could be safely studied, he asked.
  • Maximise serendipity: Often when organisations seek to increase collaboration, they look to increase the number of “serendipitous” moments when workers from different departments happen to stumble across a way to work together in pursuit of a common goal. The trouble is that unless an organisation’s culture allows for easy collaboration, these serendipitous moments never lead anywhere. Healthcare providers must remember that their silos are only important within their organisation – patients just want the best possible care, no matter where it comes from, he said.

Of course, Coplin acknowledged that these kinds of cultural shifts are difficult for any organisation. Human beings are always resistant to change, even when it makes their lives easier. If you want proof, look no further than the way we still cling to the QWERTY keyboard, even though its over 40 years old and was designed to slow typists down. The key is to keep asking yourself: Are you using technology to reimagine your organisation? Or are you bending technology to fit what you've always done?

Learn more about Dave Coplin’s work and ideas at BusinessReimagined.org.

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