The touchpoints of healthcare

If you think about how healthcare is delivered, it’s on an ad hoc basis. Someone comes into a hospital, someone comes into a pharmacy, someone comes into a doctor. But beyond those touchpoints, the patients are on their own. There’s no real continuity of care.  Christopher A. Viehbacher – CEO, Sanofi

A wonderful quote that I will use in future when explaining what touchpoints are.

Goverment apology over NHS care

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has apologised to the families and patients who suffered appalling care at Stafford Hospital.


"He announced a review of current A&E services and a second inquiry to look at how long problems had been going on for at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: "On behalf of the Government and the NHS I would like to apologise to the patients and families of patients who have suffered because of the poor standards of care at Stafford Hospital. There was a complete failure of management to address serious problems and monitor performance. This led to a totally unacceptable failure to treat emergency patients safely and with dignity."

Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over three years, a report said.

Although it is not clear how many of these deaths could have been avoided, the Healthcare Commission said patients undoubtedly suffered as a result of lapses in the standard of care.

Its investigation, based on more than 300 interviews and an examination of over 1,000 documents, found inadequately trained staff who were too few in number, junior doctors left alone in charge at night and patients left without food, drink or medication as their operations were repeatedly canceled.

Some patients were left in pain or needing the toilet, sat in soiled bedding for several hours at a time and were not given their regular medication, the Commission heard.

Receptionists with no medical training were expected to assess patients coming in to A&E, some of whom needed urgent care."

A service disaster.

Complaints breed complaints

The NHS is failing to deal adequately with complaints about its services, according to a recent report by the Healthcare Commission, the watchdog responsible for reviewing complaints that cannot be resolved at a local NHS trust level. The report reveals that the proportion of complaints upheld rose last year by 50% - and in less than a fifth of the 9,000 cases it looked at, the watchdog sided with the trust. 42-15997889

Most worrying for those who believe in the importance of listening to user feedback as a means of improving services, the main issue raised by complainants was the way in which the NHS handles complaints. In other words, what bugs people most is not the issue that led them to complain, but the way in which the NHS responded when they did so. Complaints, it appears, breed complaints about complaints.

New Doctor Online

Jaymes Song reports on a new service that some people believe could be a "groundbreaking step in health care."

"The service is being provided in Hawaii by Hawaii Medical Service is available for a fee to all Hawaii residents, including the uninsured and non-HMSA members"

"This is changing the face of how medicine is delivered in a very positive, safe and efficient way," said Dr. Patricia Avila, medical director of HMSA's Online Care.


"Computers equipped with a Web camera are used to set up a live, face-to-face consultations where patients describe their symptoms and even show anything from a rash to a wound. They could get questions answered, get advice or prescriptions for anything but controlled substances."

Hawaii is seen as ideal for the service because the islands are separated by miles of ocean.

Image: Flickr

Patients in Service Design


In this Autumn’s edition of In View, a founder of live|work Ben Reason talks about the importance of Service Thinking for innovation in healthcare. The report focuses on patient-centered innovation.

The term 'Service Thinking' is described as a new way of thinking about services that starts with the individual not the organisation. A perspective that changes the way we look at the world.

"We need to support people to lead healthy lives, stay out of hospital and feel good. That requires a shift from traditional product thinking – treat the patient when they become ill; to service thinking – support the patient’s health and wellbeing."

I am eager to read more on this phrase 'Service Thinking' . I am still unraveling 'Design Thinking'...