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Should the NHS become more like a bank*?

*Not just any bank, Monzo.

 Last week 60+ people came together at NHS Wales Hack to think about how we could do our jobs better. More than half of us were social care workers, therapists, nurses and doctors. Eighteen people made pitches first thing in the morning of the kind of problems they wanted to solve. Midwives wanted to make booking women for caesarian sections better. Junior doctors wanted to streamline how they handled discharge letters and making sure that patients got their discharge medications. Physios wanted to improve how they handled referrals.

Then we formed into teams to look at these problems and started working. 

Much use was made of PostIts and Sharpies 

We took a service design approach and mapped users and how they felt, and what the current journeys were like. We tried to make sure that we really understood the problem, and then thought about as many ways as we could of fixing it.  Some teams went on to prototype their solutions and then we got back together to share what we had learned and think about next steps. 

Some of the teams found out that the things that they wanted to make better – such as how they could follow up test results of patients who had been discharged – were already on the roadmaps of the products. The problem is that across NHS Wales it isn’t easy to tell what development is in the pipeline. And it doesn’t feel as easy as it should to give feedback or contribute to setting priorities. This was one of the reasons that the NHS Wales Clinical Informatics Council asked me to run NHS Wales Hack – so that we could try out new ways of working with our users.

One of the teams suggested that  NHS Wales should become more like Monzo, the ‘challenger’ bank founded on ‘radical transparency’.

We’re focused on solving problems, rather than selling financial products. We want to make the world a better place and change people’s lives through Monzo and we think the best way to do that is by being as open as possible.

Monzo has an active community forum where users give feedback on features and how the company is doing, and see sneak peeks of new features. They also publicly share their roadmap and have a good explanationthat helps manage users expectations.

Could we all learn from this? I’m a member of an external panel for the Welsh Government which is thinking about how we can support the transformation of public services. I think we came up with some good ideas last week at NHS Wales Hack that maybe all public services should consider. 

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