Jim Easton has twenty years experience as a leader in the English National Health Service. He also has very clear opinions as to why, after 20 years of Quality Improvement methods in healthcare, we haven’t created an unstoppable force for improvement. He cites four reasons for this state of affairs:

  1. the economic drivers don’t work powerfully enough to drive the change;
  2. the attempt to jump a chasm from a cottage industry of improvement to mass customisation in one bound;
  3. three cultural traits of medicine that inhibit large scale Quality Improvement: conservatism about change; independence of practice and love of rescue;
  4. a psychological disconnect from purpose.

In his blog, Jim Easton sets out 15 actions that leaders can take to overcome these barriers. The most important one is to make quality improvement part of the mainstream of decision making in health and care, impacting on every aspect of policy and strategy and delivery of priorities for our patients.

I have shown Jim’s blogs to a few people in the Quality Improvement movement and everyone had an opinion on it. A powerful aspect of this blog is that it sparks a debate and discussion about Quality Improvement that is long overdue. Why not get your Transformation Board or leadership team to read it and have the discussion?

What I like best about this blog is that a senior leader has taken the time for profound reflection on what is needed to take Quality Improvement forward, rather than using all his energy in leading action without deep thought. This blog made me think of a quote from Gary Hamel: “Tomorrow’s management systems will need to value diversity, dissent and divergence as highly as conformance, consensus and cohesion.” Here’s to much more radical thought that translates into new ways to take action for change.