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Plackard’s success factors for success


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Friday, 24 August 2018

Plackard’s success factors for success

Martin Plackard, head of disruptive communications at the emerging NHS Blithering integrated care system, has spent the past couple of weeks at a self-rediscovery retreat in the Far East. The break, in the charming coastal resort of Whitstable, has given him time to reflect on the fundamentals – or success factors – of success. Martin has distilled these thoughts into seven core principles (the 7CPs), mainly for the benefit of less gifted and insightful colleagues. Here are the first three.

Get the language right

When everyone else is talking in clichés, you need to break the old model, rewrite the rule book and come up with a game-changer. If something isn’t working, chances are you haven’t found the right name for it yet. 

Case in point: “sustainability and transformation plans” were not enthusiastically received but NHS England achieved a step change with the refreshed concept of “sustainability and transformation partnerships”. The change from STP to STP was subtle but hugely important. Overnight STPs went from something almost no one had heard of to something that suddenly several people were talking about and knew they had to do.

Similarly, when it became clear that “accountable care organisation” (ACO) wasn’t hitting the spot, the nuancing and obfuscation delivery team at Skipton House set to work and after just a few days of intensive brainstorming transformed it to become “integrated care organisation” – an inspired choice. The rejected options weren’t wasted either. “Integrated care partnership” is a baby ICO and an “integrated care system” is the grown up version – or vice versa. I forget which. It really doesn’t matter.

Best of all, if you tire of ICS, you simply revert to STP, because they’re basically interchangeable. That’s what integration and sustainability are all about.  

Be more digital

As my colleague Dr David Rummage explained recently, disruptive innovation means that everything will be very digital and very different in future, which is hugely exciting. It’s all about creating new markets and value networks, and replacing outmoded institutions and services with something cheaper. Ask any patient and they’ll soon tell you that’s exactly what they want from the NHS in the 21st century.

Don’t mistake digital for IT. Traditional IT was boring and irrelevant, with its emphasis on finance, purchasing, hospital activity, waiting lists, record keeping and other things that have no place in modern healthcare.

All this is being revolutionised by a new generation of apps for measuring wellbeing, reminding people to go the gym and providing real-time medical advice. Apps can do everything a GP can do – and more – thanks to AI that can check your symptoms and diagnose potential conditions. In the unlikely event that you ever need to see an analogue doctor, they can even make an appointment, locate the nearest surgery with great user ratings, call you a taxi, debit your bank account and send your personal data to Google. It’s all seamless.

There’s even a Matt Hancock app to download. Tech companies are particularly excited about the prospect of exploiting the potential power of “a health secretary in your pocket”.

Mr Hunt was in the job for six years without ever coming up with an app of his own. Draw your own conclusions about why he’s been downgraded to an obscure overseas posting.

Don’t underestimate Brexit

So much for “project fear”.  Here in Blithering, we’re not only well prepared for Brexit, we’re cautiously optimistic. Why? Because uncertainty and chaos create new opportunities to reset our priorities and explain some of the anomalies in our data that have wrongly made us look like the worst-performing health economy in the country.    

Brexit will make it harder to criticise our governance, financial management, waiting times, health outcomes and the other measures that preoccupy national regulators and the media but frankly mean nothing to patients.

Of course Brexit could result in a little further inconvenience as EU nationals working in the NHS return home, medical supplies dry up and the economy melts down, but on the upside it will make it harder for nit-picking regulators to “hold us to account”.

That’s why we’re not merely preparing for the worst, but embracing it. That’s what we do in Blithering.

Editor: NHS Networks


Alexander Marshall
Alexander Marshall says:
Aug 24, 2018 03:26 PM

I'm sorry but you have not yet produced essential acronym-friendly terminology. How about a Programme for Integrated Transformative Sustainability? Or even Sustainable and Transformative User Plans for Integrated Disruption? I leave you to derive the appropriate acronyms.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Aug 28, 2018 03:51 PM

Thank you, but as ever real life is ahead of the game. Someone seriously suggested Disruptive Agile Fabulously Transformational in a post of Twitter last week

remediesexchange.com says:
Aug 29, 2018 12:11 PM