“But why can’t they alter it?” – Why CAN’T systems join up?

There is a lot of really interesting stuff on Twitter that goes unnoticed – especially good stuff by people who don’t (yet) have that many followers.
I spotted this tweet by Eileen Murphy ( ) yesterday that she posted about three weeks ago. It had no ‘faves’ RTs or replies.

I re-tweeted it and it immediately caused a bit of a storm…

#boatrockers like storms as they have more chance of leading to something happening than calm, complacent seas…

I hate systems that do not join up:  simple things often create BIG problems, especially when people do not talk to each other or realise the effect of their actions on others.

This is at the heart of my Whose Shoes? work. It reminded me of ‘a light bulb moment’ in Birmingham.

Serendipity always seems to strike on these occasions. Or rather, it just shows how much good stuff is around ALL the time on Twitter. Take a look at the “Clinic Waits” blog – it contains a lot of useful learning.

And then a bad thing happens. The good people blame themselves. I see it more as ‘lightbulb moments’ – when people suddenly feel bad about things they have been doing – or not doing – in good faith for years because they didn’t previously see how they impacted on ‘real people’ a.k.a patients and families.

Please, don’t feel bad about the past if you have acted in good faith, as most people do. Instead, use their influence NOW to bring about improvements.

And then some suggestions and further comment…

I think the key words here would be “an option” as the original question came from an “elderly lady” who may not have access to text messages. My Mum (@Gills_Mum) has written about this in her popular “Digital onslaught” blog.
Horses for courses. Personalisation. Choice. Systems…

It was great that Eileen spotted the tweets and joined the conversation…

And so, the conversation moved on, as Twitter so beautifully enables, from one subject to another: wider systemic problems. For the purposes of this blog, let’s return to the original issue…

So, I put it to you. How do we stop a computer system sending out a letter that…

  • Suggests an appointment has been drastically re-arranged and causes anxiety / frustration / confusion / anger (delete those that do not apply and add your own)
  • Alters the appointment by a mere 5 minutes (would ANYONE waiting in NHS even notice a 5 minute difference in appointment time when they actually attend?)

Answers on a postcard.  By First Class post. In triplicate … and all sent in separate envelopes and with slightly different details, please.

Red tapeOh, and a number to ring with lots and lots of buttons to press and a reminder of how much my call is valued and some annoying music… And cut me off just when things start to get a bit hopeful … 😉

OK, we know what the problems are…

Please post POSITIVE comments on what can be done. How do we eliminate wasteful, annoying practices and join up systems?

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives. http://nutshellcomms.co.uk
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2 Responses to “But why can’t they alter it?” – Why CAN’T systems join up?

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is so frustrating – my father in law went on holiday and came back home fo find 5 letters from his local hospital yes 5 letters all saying the same thing. ie ‘thanking him for cancellation and offering him another appointment’ all at the same time……. it really beggars believe of the waste. He seemed quite worried when he saw all the letters in 5 seperate white nvelopes stamped with a blue NHS stamped on them.. he thought it was serious. He was not happy.


    • Thanks. I think this is what people need to understand. It is not just wasteful and inefficient, this type of thing causes huge anxiety – coming home to FIVE NHS stamped envelopes could suggest something was pretty seriously wrong with you!

      Hoping to get some positive comments and suggestions as to how these common faults can be addressed quickly and hopefully completely avoided. I have two database-proficient people in my family who say that this is such a simple thing to address and should never happen in the first place. A few little rules in the database such as ‘if the new appointment falls on the same day…’ / within x time period then… Not rocket science, as they say.

      It is SUCH a shame when our brilliant NHS, that we all rely on, is slated and made to look bad by simple but very important things such as this.


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