Shifting from IT to situated technology in healthcare

Tomorrow, there will be roughly 1000 preventable healthcare deaths in the US and Europe combined. And it’ll happen in modern hospitals staffed by some of the best and equipped with the latest…

…We have to stop thinking IT as in “information technology”, it’s not enough just to handle the information – like the [Electronic Health Record]. It’s the combined and seamless flow of patients, information and work that offers the only solution – and for that we need “flow technology”, in short healthcare needs FT. Information is merely a natural ingredient in the flows and not vice versa.

This is a real problem, but simply moving from transactional IT systems to what Sig calls “Flow Technology” is only part of the solution in healthcare. How information systems are situated into healthcare is critical – after all healthcare is about dealing with people, not sitting in front of computers.

We’ve seen examples in community services, such as the LIFE Programme in the UK where social workers were spending most of their time on paperwork. Research into emergency department design has also highlighted the importance of communication to dealing with violent and disruptive patients.

I’m with Sig that the right flow-based information systems can help, but never in isolation to the whole service design.


Laurence Lock Lee asks, is there something missing from the business analysts’ toolkit?

I did walk through our ‘bottom up’ method of stakeholder engagement using value network analysis techniques. My point wasn’t so much that we should abandon ‘Top Down’ analysis, but that we should be open to injecting some ‘bottom up’ analysis to ensure ourselves that we are getting a more holistic picture of the business.

I agree with Laurie – its top down and bottom up. Its also about design thinking and the techniques he talks about can add to building a better understanding of complex social contexts (organisational or otherwise) that we might otherwise over rely on intuition for in the design process.

NZ Government: Technology can deliver for less money and better results

Prime Minister John Key is citing Air New Zealand check-in times as a model for the public service to follow as the Government pursues smart phone and other technological advances to replace over the counter contact.

But he conceded that it would require a huge investment by the Government. He confirmed previous reports that an IRD upgrade alone was expected to cost $1 billion plus.

“I think we’ve got a very good public service but we can’t stand in the way of technology…and nor can we stand in the way of some of the advantages of having shared services,” Key said.

“I have it in some of my ministries I’m looking after and I’m convinced I can deliver for less money, better results.”

Interesting that the NZ government is looking at examples of technology-enabled service innovation in the private sector. But I’d be a little nervous of government adopting Web-era service models without the appropriate Web-development mindset. Even getting a standard Website up and running can be a challenge for government.

The UK government is a better example of this, with their alpha and beta whole-of-government Website pilots – but those aren’t particularly cheap, but should eventually prove a better return on investment for tax payers. 

Service Design, Social Media and The Box concept car


The Box, a shared-car concept for inner-cities, was the inspiration for my latest post over on the Headshift | Dachis Group Asia Pacific blog.

There are some great related posts on the Shareable blog too. Also check out the Brook & Bone site (the designers behind this concept car) – look under projects.

Service Design Toolkit #gov2au #gov2local

the toolkit

Created with local and regional governments in mind, although I’m sure it has broader application, this toolkit is the outcome of a partnership between two European design firms and Design Flanders.

You need to buy the toolkit, but they have made some posters and templates available for download.

Hat tip to the Putting People First blog.