Monday 20 July 2009

Transformational power of crowd sourcing and patient choice

Enabling meaningful choice and using this as a driver for improvement from providers.

Patient Choice is not just valuable in its own right as an enabler of patient-centric care, but has the (as yet unfulfilled) potential to drive transformational quality improvement by creating internal NHS competition.

Patients and the public are currently unable to make informed choice and thus cannot exert the pressure required to drive patient-centric change. Nothing currently being delivered in NHS looks capable of changing this.

In the same way that IT-enabled visualisation and understanding of performance for Boards and staff changes culture, so the same will be true for huge numbers of NHS patients. This requires a far more innovative approach than employed to date - but will benefit from the same technologies and understanding employed by many other industries which focus on empowering and supporting users by enabling them to understand realities behind often complex data sets.

Once users understand the huge variance across the NHS, they will exercise choice - and this will create positive pressure for change and improvement across the service.

Existing traditional approaches (doing what we do now in a better way) have failed to harness this potential and will continue to do so.

Is it time to unleash the “armchair auditors”, time to trust the patients and users of the NHS to be the prime judges of the service they pay for, and to fully share this information and opinion in a transparent and open way?

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