Things I Tell Myself Everyday

In todays ever more regulated and scrutinised healthcare environment, it is very easy to throw our arms up and give up on trying new ideas a.k.a innovation. Here are things I tell myself daily to fight that temptation:

  1. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.
  2. Everyone has ideas. A few have the audacity to act upon them.
  3. An idea on the ground is worth ten in the head.
  4. If everyone backs your idea at the start, maybe it’s not really there, yet.
  5. If everyone is opposed to your idea after you’ve had your say, maybe it’s not there yet, either.

If you have ever been seized by an idea, you’ll know the unmistakable feeling fluttering in your gut. I have learnt that when I stop asking ‘What If?’ and stop experimenting with new ideas, I lose interest in the people and work around me. So I fight the temptation to automatically go with what’s comfortable or convinient.

It takes a brave mind to enter unchartered waters, it takes a tough heart to stay the course.

The myth of the rational patient

Betabetic

(and the rational doctor).

There is no disputing the fact that the pressure on the open doors of the NHS – primary care, urgent and emergency care – is unmanageable. One recurring cry from GPs and A&E staff is that they are seeing ‘the wrong people’ – that one patient takes up a GP appointment with a ‘trivial problem’ while another fails to get an appointment and becomes an emergency, or at least accesses unscheduled care, as a result. In addition, A&E waiting times are at least in part being affected by the need to triage and see patients who don’t need the specialist services of an emergency department (though this is not the main problem).

Recent NHS England campaigns illustrate the difficulty of trying to modify health-care seeking behaviour that has risk-judgement at its core.

On the one hand we have campaigns such as Choose Well (or as I call…

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Are health messages ever social?

Clear message

I’m excited about taking part in my first #nhssm chat in quite a long time. On Wednesday 11 March – NHS Change Day – we’ll be talking about how the NHS can use social media to deliver tricky messages to different audiences. The chat starts from 8pm on the #nhssm hashtag.

The messages I have in mind are about sexual health and testing for STIs, but the chat could take us anywhere – smoking, mental health, alcohol. What I’m keen to find out is whether these topics are social at all. Do we, as members of the public, want to be approached online about improving our health, and if so, what are the most effective channels? Are there more private, selective social channels such as WhatsApp, that can help the NHS be part of an existing conversation?

In particular, I’m interested in how we reachLGBT, BME and teen audiences.

My interest has been…

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My NHS Christmas

Big Up the NHS

#MyNHSChristmas


Christmas is a very special time of year for the NHS.

imagesEJCSRXM1There are poignant juxtapositions of celebration and sadness, pleasure and pain, excitement and fear. The staff who work over the holiday period may miss out on a family Christmas but they try to bring a little of the party to work. The patients do the same if they can. There is a palpable sense of celebration tempered by professionalism and respectful care for those too ill to appreciate the season. In the NHS life goes on – 365 days a year – but Christmas day is different.

The NHS has taken a bit of a battering lately. Unjustified negative press, swinging financial cutbacks and the threat of privatisation have all conspired to undermine and destabalise the NHS. The pressure on the staff has never been greater and morale has suffered.

A sad NHS is a bad NHS, so…

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The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch

ScienceRoll

I see enormous technological changes heading our way. If they hit us unprepared, which we are now, they will wash away the medical system we know and leave it a purely technology–based service without personal interaction. Such a complicated system should not be washed away. Rather, it should be consciously and purposefully redesigned piece by piece. If we are unprepared for the future, then we lose this opportunity. I think we are still in time and it is still possible if an easily digestible and practical guide becomes available.

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I wrote a book “The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch” to prepare everyone for the coming waves of change, to be a guide for the future of medicine that anyone can use. It describes 22 trends and technologies that will shape the future including Augmented Reality, Surgical and Humanoid Robots, Genomics, Body Sensors, The Medical Tricorder, 3D Printing, Exoskeletons…

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