A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post called Hire me to Help Fix the UK’s Broken Track and Trace System. In the blog post I outlined some of the expertise I have that would be relevant to consulting work focussed on making the UK’s track and trace system work more effectively. This blog post is similar, it outlines some of the expertise I have that would be relevant for consulting projects focussed on improving the health care system, improving health care efficiency through digital technology specifically. The digital bit should be assumed given the name of my blog.
My healthcare expertise comes from three different areas my life:
- 10 Research projects (including a digital health PhD),
- 10 years of professional management expertise (including management and development roles in healthcare) and
- lived experience.
In my PhD, I explored how digital technology ideas connected to the ideas of smart cities and smart communities could be applied to improving healthcare efficiency. I took a systems thinking approach to explore some of the systemic issues. My focus was on the system of cancer services in Sheffield, many of the issues and solutions are, however relevant to other parts of the system. More details of my research are outlined in my PhD thesis here. The following diagram gives an overview of my study’s focus.
Clarity about what I mean by the concept of smart community and why it is relevant to improving healthcare efficiency is also outlined in this article, its open access so you can read the full article by following the link.
My PhD research built on expertise I had gained working as a healthcare manager. I managed a community healthcare charity, delivering contracts for NHS, local authority and other funders / commissioners. This position enabled me to be close enough to the NHS system to understand it, but, far enough away, not to be part of it, not to be institutionalized by it. My understanding was developed further by serving on four different healthcare committees, more detail can be found on the about me section of my blog.
As a cancer survivor, I was able to inform my research through lived experience. First-hand experience of the healthcare system can be a direct learning experience. I found that it opened my eyes to some of the limitations of the system as well as highlighting what is good. For me it was a trigger to conducting research to try to understand the system, a journey that led me into working in healthcare and then later researching it more formally. During my PhD I found that my lived experience was invaluable when conducting interviews and making sense of data. Both my management roles and lived experience gave me understanding that I could apply connect insight from different data sources.
I argue that the combination of my academic, professional and lived experience is unique. Each of these have given me different understanding of how to improve the health care system and how digital technology could be applied to improve healthcare efficiency. My motivation is not financially driven, it’s more that I have gained skills and understanding that could be applied to making the system work better and my life experience has shown me just how important that is.
As a brief taster, issues I identified in the current system included:
- a lack of data interoperability,
- outdated cultural attitudes,
- a lack of focus of prevention and
- a top down approach to technology adoption.
In terms of how to address these issues I found that technological change could not improve efficiency by itself. To make the system work better, it is important to create different relationships with and through information technology. It’s not just the technology that is used that is important, it’s how the tools are used and how they are integrated into the system that’s important.
For more detail feel free to:
- read my thesis,
- contact me or
- even better, hire me to work with you to help make the system work more effectively, or at least to improve one part of the system.