Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Throwing money at problems

One of my bug bears is people insisting that throwing money at a problem will solve it. Health is a big example. Well want to know what happens when you throw pots of cash at a problem? Just look at the outcomes of the NHS. Despite all the money thrown at the NHS in recent years there has not been a corresponding significant improvement in quality or delivery of care.

There is no point in throwing pots of money at a system until you know that its processes are correct. To steal Umair's terminology, the DNA of the system has to be right. In the case of the NHS, its not. Which simply results in the money going into the system going to waste. This is not an argument about whether health care should be funded publicly or privately, only in how health care is delivered. The processes required to deliver health care. How its funded is a very small secondary issue that is more philosophical than anything else.

You have to fix the fundamental processes, the DNA, of a system before there is any hope of making improvements. This goes for companies, software or government services. In fact every system. Throwing money does little to do this.

And in the case of health care, to re-write the DNA we have to question the basic principles of health care delivery. Is the concept of Doctors, Nurses and health centres really the best method for delivering health care? Do we need Doctors? What for? Should they be the only ones to do diagnosis? Should health care rely on God-like pronouncements of what is wrong. What about Nurses? Could paramedics be made more useful?

Everything we know about health care needs to be questioned. Only then can we begin to build the framework for the effective delivery of health care.

Tags: Health, Operations, Bubblegeneration