Weeknote: 7 to 10 May 2019

Health & Care Service Map(1).jpg
Extract from a service map

1. What inspired me this week?

  • Sarah, one of our brilliant Digital Services Delivery graduates has completed her two years on the scheme and is joining the NHS website team as a delivery manager.
  • Seeing pictures of our NHS design principles in the wild – on the wall at Surrey & Borders Partnership and on a slide at a NICE conference. The principles, still in beta, were inspired in equal measures by the NHS Constitution and the GDS design principles. They were co-created by designers working in the NHS.
  • The new service standard (no longer the “digital service standard”). I know this has been a long time coming. We had sight of an early version and could see immediately how it will apply across our teams working in health and care. My colleague Ian blogged his reaction to the new standard too.
  • Reviewing some very high quality CVs for a couple of NHS Digital roles. The interview panel for those jobs are going to face some tough decisions.
  • My colleagues on the NHS.UK senior leadership team, with whom I don’t spend nearly enough time at the moment. We’re a cross-functional leadership team – heads of content, delivery, product, tech, design and a clinical lead. We trust and respect each other, and having those different perspectives round the table (or remotely on Skype) allows us to make some tough decisions and recommendations quickly and confidently.
  • Tero‘s growing service map showing patient journeys across health and care. I’ve cheekily posted a snippet of it in the header to this post, because I’m so pleased that NHS Digital’s top service designer is getting this knowledge into a visual and visible form. Excited to see what we can do with it as a working tool and a companion to a user-centred list of services.
  • A show and tell of research insights from the blended NHS Digital/Futuregov team working on Digital Urgent and Emergency Care. I really liked the comparison of the help patients felt they needed with what they actually got. Also the use of looping and layering to visualise failure waste in people’s experiences.

2. What connections did I make?

  • I joined my first Building a Digital Ready Workforce programme board, and met some of the team for the first time. Looking forward to getting to know my colleagues on this programme better.
  • Met Ben, who has joined our Citizen Health Tech team to help lead delivery.
  • A good chat with Rachel, one of my Bevan Programme learning set. We talked about ways that digital could work better for patients and staff in one of the services that her foundation trust runs. I took away actions to see what NHS Digital can do.

3. What capabilities should we build?

  • Some things I heard at the Building a Digital Ready Workforce programme board, and later in the week at a meeting of my fellow NHS Digital profession leads, are making me wonder about our approach to professionalisation for digital specialists in the NHS and beyond. As digital delivery and user-centred design people in government, we prize learning on the job, and peer support through very active communities of practice. But we’re not nearly as highly credentialled as some of the other professions we work alongside. At what point might that become a problem, especially as we send our people deep into the NHS systems and services on which safe and effective care depends?

4. What did I learn about myself?

  • This week, I got quite cross, on more than one occasion. I do my job because I’m impatient for change in digital, data and technology for health and care. After nearly two years here, I can see some green shoots – all those things under the “what inspired me” heading every week. But at times it feels like those green shoots are still quite vulnerable. Reflecting on a big prioritisation process taking place this week, I was reminded of Myron Rogers’ maxim that “The process we use to get to the future is the future we get.” I am determined to remain impatient with the progress and the process, but to channel that impatience positively and productively to get to something better.

5. What do I need to take care of?

  • All the same stuff as every other week, only more so. As our internal reorganisation intercepts with cross-system reprioritisation, little oversights can be easily magnified into big worries for our people and teams. Now more than ever we need to keep staff informed, included, and reassured that the great work they are doing is recognised and valued. I know it really is.

As someone once said, onwards!

2 thoughts on “Weeknote: 7 to 10 May 2019

  1. Matt, I’ve been following for a while. Firstly, huge thanks for making your reflections public. I value working out loud so we can all learn together. And that means warts and all! Too few people are doing this and it takes belief in your mission to take this bold step.
    And of course allowing us to engage in debate about a very precious service is very welcome too.
    Couple of observations:
    Great to see digital removed from service standard. Digital being somehow the only and the best way is a mindset that I’m glad you’re chipping away at.
    I noticed this statement at the front of this section.
    All public facing transactional services
    This language is dehumanising and this is something I feel you will recognise instinctively.
    If we can somehow move towards relationships in our thinking with guests/patients that change would be significant.
    Oddly enough, I’m writing this in North Middlesex having treatment after being knocked off my road bike.
    It’s given me time to reflect and contribute (hopefully in a positive way) rather than sweating through the Hertfordshire lanes!

    1. Thank you for the comment, and I wish you a full and speedy recovery. Of course there’s much more to service than transactions. I do reckon that making simple transactions work first time is a noble ambition too – as long as we don’t stop at that.

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