We will be the best healthcare system in Australasia by December 2015. We know our goal.
The only way to be the best is to combine practical ‘can do’ know how, which is prevalent in New Zealand with smart data.
To be the best, we are going to have to identify and address some of the ‘pain points’ in our health system and learn rapidly from each other and from outside New Zealand (innovation exchange). This sits at the heart of the concept of a ‘learning organisation’.
According to Peter Senge (1990: 3) learning organisations are ….
Organisations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.
The basic rationale for such an organisation is that in situations of rapid change, only those that are flexible, adaptive and productive will excel.
Let’s come back to facilitating that learning. What are the major ‘pain points’ in our health system? I would argue that there are 2 significant ones:
- Implementing change. This includes having a clear ‘theory of change’ – being able to articulate how to move from ‘what needs doing’ to ‘how to make change happen’ without falling back on the inadequate concepts of inciting and educating people into change.
- Evaluating and learning from change initiatives. The trend is moving towards more data being available, but we need smarter use of available data. It’s time to develop the IT systems to prioritise, support and evaluate change. Linked to this, we need more researchers moving into partnership with the health system, delivering real time research that has use in the pragmatic decision making we live in every day.
In my opinion we are moving slowly towards a learning system in healthcare but we need to actively join up, stop competing and build the future together. What we need are a few key steps. For example we need to develop ‘big data’ and EMR (Electronic Medical Record), with data prioritised to support the changes we need. We also need closer partnership between researchers and the healthcare system.
Perhaps we should move away from traditional academic institution based research to a more partnership model? Research dollars seem locked into RCT (Randomised Clinical Trial) and the medical research community. Maybe more funding for evidence based healthcare research needs to come from patient care dollars?
We need to build in accountability for learning from each other. It is not acceptable that one part of our system has a solution, and other parts of the same system do not.
So how do we facilitate the learning organisation journey? Within our own organisations and across New Zealand we can, and must, create networks of shared practice and learning. The great work within New Zealand must also be mixed with the best ideas and teachers internationally, and so we created the Asia Pacific Healthcare Improvement Forum (APAC) where the best in the world come together, with a concentrated group of some of the best minds in Australasia. Join us for the toolkits and the learning you will need to drive innovation and improvement, and the teaching you must share with colleagues. September 1-3 Melbourne. See our website