Weeknote: 30 September to 4 October 2019

Exhibition hall with cartoon brand licensing stands
Other people’s event always look fun – this one was across the hall from the HETT Show

1. What inspired me this week?

  • Seeing Rochelle and Tero settling into their new NHS Digital roles as head of user research and head of design respectively, and – bonus! – the news that Simon is moving over from PHE to NHS X in a head of design role there.
  • Being part of a panel discussion at the HETT Show (Healthcare Excellence Through Technology), expertly chaired by Tashfeen. There were some great questions, including one from a patient representative who made me wonder what else we could do with digital to suppport the patients and members of the public who take on representative and decision-making roles in the NHS.

2. How did I make expectations clear?

  • In my contribution to the panel discussion at HETT,  I emphasised that commissioners and developers working on apps for use in health and care should start with user needs, not assume a technology solution. I highlighted the importance of digital accessibility standards, because we are committed to providing a service for everyone.
  • In discussions with several people I manage and mentor this week, I asked them to make sure they have up-to-date plans for their professional development.

3. What leadership teamwork did I see?

  • On the edge of HETT, I had a long conversation with James from Health Education England, and Di who works on our Building a Digital Ready Workforce programme, about the professionalisation of digital, data and technology roles in health and care. As ever, I’m impressed by their patient search for clarity and openness to challenge their own and other people’s assumptions.

4. What connections did I make?

  • I wandered the exhibition floor at HETT taking in the visual state of interfaces for professional users. It was apparent that there’s massive variation in levels of design maturity in our sector. Collectively improving this could make such a difference to both patient safety and staff retention.

5. What do I need to take care of?

  • I was cross with myself for not double-checking something last week, which led to an unacceptable experience for some of our staff.
  • We’ll soon be recruiting for vacancies in content, design and user research. We need to be thoughtful about how we do this, and have the right measures in place to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in every recruitment.
  • My team and I will soon be setting out our plans for design and user research across NHS Digital’s products and services. We need to make sure our new ways of working are clearly understood at all levels of the organisation.
  • As profession lead, I’m also responsible for product, delivery and data roles, as well as user-centred design. I need to make sure those parts of the profession get the support they need too.
  • I caught my first cold of the season last week. Feeling better now, but a reminder to try to stay well, and get my flu jab in plenty of time for winter.

6. How did I uphold the NHS Constutition?

The NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money. It is committed to providing the most effective, fair and sustainable use of finite resources. Public funds for healthcare will be devoted solely to the benefit of the people that the NHS serves.

  • On Monday, I attended a Civil Service College Finance for Non-financial Managers course. Having previously worked in large private sector organisations, and run my own consulting business, I already knew the basics. I hope I’ll be a more effictive manager now I understand a little bit more about how finance works in my organisation, and the UK public sector in general.

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