Each of us has the power to make change happen…. or at least that’s how we look at it. Small acts together can make big changes and if we volunteer to do them they have a great sticking power.
So what could we change? We embrace digital in most aspects of our lives. We talk to our family and friends, shop, arrange our travel, find our recipes for meal planning and order taxis. How do you feel when your battery runs down on your phone? Disconnected? Unable to do stuff ? Frustrated? The tools we use to live our modern lives are woven through them like invisible strands.
Yet in healthcare it often feels like a history tour; we are transported back in time. The Nuffield Trust report published earlier this year tells us on average NHS organisations are a decade behind. Think of all the opportunity we are missing to deliver better care!
It’s easy to overlook existing digital tools as part of new ways of doing things in health and care; maybe because in everyday life for many of us it is so invisible and integrated, unless it goes wrong we pay it little attention – so how do we change that and make it a more obvious part of the future? I don’t believe it’s about politicians or indeed policy it’s about people and that’s you and me.
How about if everyone made a pledge to do something ‘digital’ would that be a start? Just think what might happen if we then also encouraged our colleagues and family and friends to do the same. The leadership of change often takes a group of focused people who create a tipping point that starts a process of change. It often takes ‘doing’ rather than ‘talking’ so perhaps we could start some of the ‘doing’?
Simple acts such as all of us committing to learn a new digital skill, for example, tackling that tricky process online that you have been avoiding, or learning how to order your own repeat prescriptions online. You could also do something digital to improve your own health such as download a new app to check your weight, ask for access to your GP record or use the NHS Choices Couch to 5K App – or persuade your partner to do the same. Or it could be helping your parents to work out how to get access to their health record with their GP. If you work in health, find out what is happening around digital and commit to help and support the substantial changes we need to make. Go and meet the people who work in your information department or the technology team as part of a #RCT – ask them what they do and how they can help you to deliver care. Look at how you can use the technology you already have to contribute to doing things differently – perhaps show patients resources online that they can look at in their own time or link them to online peer networks. What would you expect if you were a patient in 2016? If you don’t work in health but you are a patient, carer or service user ask the people who help you how digital might be able to help you….
In the NHS we depend on incredible people and there are 1.2 million of us. Just imagine the impact we could make with a million digital pledges. The fact is the staff in the NHS are the best resource we have; if we all mobilised behind the digital age it would make a real difference.
If you think this is useless/pointless have a look and be inspired by the work of the Tinder Foundation and some of the digital heros in the video:
If you want to make a digital pledge tell us about it on Twitter using #FabDigital and register your pledge on the FAB Change Day App:
A modern NHS should be digital – what part can you play?
Let us know what you do and what you think!
Deborah El-Sayed @debselsayed
Anne Cooper @anniecoops
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.