The Age of Engagement

13 November 2014

Having worked in the NHS for nearly 9 years, I’ve often thought if there was job that I would like to do. The answer is (mostly), ‘I would love to be a Doctor’. Although this is probably a simplistic view, I just think being able to help people who need care is an amazing gift. I’m not blessed with patience (had to make sure that was the right context and way round), and don’t really like waiting for things so 7 years of training would not have been easy, and that’s not even getting onto the actual amount of knowledge to take in.

So it infuriates me when I see companies saying that, through the sole use of a dashboard, ‘WE have reduced X / Y / Z by 10%’, ‘WE have created a 50% efficiency, resulting in a £5m financial gain’. There is no single person that can do this by themselves. It’s all about engagement, operational, clinical, executive, financial etc. all need to be involved to understand the ramifications of decisions. Dashboards can direct people to the detail they need to make strategic decisions but it can’t do it by itself yet (although I’m sure one of the major tech firms are probably working on this).

Some of my favourite meetings (is there such a thing) have been with clinicians, looking at information, NOT data, and working with them to identify areas of interest. Understanding what they want, how they want it and how we bridge the information gap. In order for reports / dashboards, call them what you will, to be effective we have to understand how people are going to use them. This could be from a clinical or operational perspective but there is no point in creating a report which we think hits the mark and fails to deliver and real benefit to our customers.

Analysts, get out from behind your computer screens and go and meet the people you email. Find out what they do, how they do it, what they need from you in order to do it better. We all have our part to play in the process of Healthcare; the important part is engaging with stakeholders who rely on our part being efficient and effective.

Chris Green