Creating the space for other people to do something useful

One of my favourite party pieces (keynote presentations) is to poke fun at the way organisations typically go about trying to change something. I usually ask permission from my audience first, so that formerly the more delicate little dispositions don't get in a lather; and latterly, so that I get to peddle out the world's... Continue Reading →


A Project for the Cardiff NHS HackDay 24/25 January – Finding, storing and reporting local Health Data

Cardiff Community Informatics Network

Members of the Cardiff Community Informatics Network (CCIN) are hoping to attract “geeks who love the NHS”  to help with a  project  as part of the NHS Hackday being run in Cardiff at the end of January.

An NHS Hackday is a two day event over a weekend that brings together healthcare and technology professionals and other data enthusiasts to help improve NHS IT.

CCIN is an online community.  Its aim is to contribute to activities that improve the wellbeing of the people of Cardiff and its visitors.  This is mainly done by getting hold of raw data about how well public services are doing and helping to turn that into useful descriptions and visualisations that can guide people towards making them better.

At the moment, the primary online resources are a Facebook group of like-minded individuals, who have been sharing ideas online since April 2011, a Twitter account and…

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Thinking about population health …

Population health has been defined in many ways, of which this opening gambit from Wikipedia is a good example, "the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group".[1] I think that’s a bit dry! I like to think of population health at the scale of a community; with... Continue Reading →

From Deductive to Inductive to Abductive …?

Three ways of thinking that it's definitely worth getting your head around. Not the best descriptions of each I've ever read, but conveniently, all three on one Wikipedia page: Deductive reasoning (deduction) allows deriving b from a only where b is a formal logical consequence of a. In other words, deduction derives the consequences of... Continue Reading →

10 Great Resources for Systems Thinking and Complexity in Health

An absolutely excellent resource for anyone with a penchant for mashing up some systems theory, healthcare and “how to work in a way that is more congruent with the people and communities you are actually a small part of”. That last bit is mine.

I certainly wouldn’t put my own contributions in the same category as those giant shoulders listed in the blog, however, if you’d like to see what some of the ideas look like, when you sneak them into practice in one small corner of the world, take a look here:

Systems Thinking for Capacity in Health

Fred Nelson

We believe the following ten resources to be great systems thinking and complexity in health resources for health professionals in all fields seeking to apply these ideas to their work.

1. No list of systems thinking resources would be complete without includingSystems thinking for Health Systems Strengthening by the Alliance for Health Systems Research and WHO Geneva. This is the third in a series of flagship reports by the Alliance for Health Systems Research and has had a widespread, and increasing influence. This Report provides a realistic understanding of effective approaches to strengthening systems, especially in low-income countries and global health initiatives. The report also outlines simple steps to take when seeking to apply the often-elusive systems thinking. The ten steps it gives to applying systems thinking to a health system are (1) convene stakeholders, (2) collectively brainstorm, (3) conceptualize effects (4) adapt and redesign, (5) determine…

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The NHS Benchmarking Network needs your help!

An interesting project and I’m looking forward to digging into the taxonomy a bit deeper, to see whether they are considering the typical complexity of each person as a predisposition for their eventual route through the system. Age and frailty are not significant attractors; yes, the majority of people are older and many are frail but those characteristics are not accurate determinants for particular outcomes.

Interestingly, when we looked at journeys across acute care for this patient group within NHS Wales (data health warning aside) – across every organisation the distribution of patients being discharged to their usual place of residence changed significantly at about 19 days in hospital. At that tipping point, your chances of going home dropped by up to 50% and the cause was not due to any specific criteria, the effect simply randomised ie the driving characteristic appeared to be luck!

British Geriatrics Society

The British Geriatric Society are pleased to announce that our partnership project with the NHS Benchmarking Network is now live for data collection. Care of older people in acute settings is an exciting new project for 2014 which looks at pathways for older people through secondary care.image_mini

The project has been developed in conjunction with the BGS, and it will consider the path older people take through secondary care. The project looks at the journey from A&E through to short term assessment units, elderly care wards and supported discharge processes. Links with other sectors including primary care, community services, mental health and social care particularly at the front and back end of hospitals will be of particular interest and are explored in further detail in the project.

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Complexity and Public Health

You'll have to excuse me, I'm just stretching the WordPress muscles for the first time, so I thought that it would be best to set the tone ... Philosophically Speaking! We are taught that to make a decision we must gather all of the available evidence and then rationally and objectively calculate the correct answer.... Continue Reading →

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