On the conference scene (2 of 5)

This is post 2 in a series of 5. For those just joining this series, I am sharing some headlines from 4 healthcare conferences I recently attended, hosted by prominent organisations. This post is on the headlines of the “2nd Question of Quality” seminar hosted by HCA Healthcare UK.

The other events that are covered in this series of posts are:

1.    “Acting on Future Health” – Imperial College Business School

2.     “8th National Symposium: How patient outcome and experience data is transforming global healthcare” – iWantGreatCare

3.    “The Private Healthcare Summit 2017” – Intuition Communication

Post 5 of 5 in the series is where I’ll have some top tips on how the typical conference formula might be updated to intensify the value, relevance and impact of these events.

Powerful, personal stories were a significant feature throughout the programme of this HCA UK conference. They served as an antidote to the typical “numbing by numbers” and dashboard-type discussions on quality. The stand out moments were the stories told by James Titcombe, a leading figure in patient safety and author of Joshua’s Story after he tragically lost his son Joshua (aged only 9 days old) at Morecombe Bay NHS Trust, and the personal account by Liz O’Riordan, a breast cancer surgeon who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both of their stories have, and will continue to influence the quality debate not from a numbers perspective but rather based on the real human experiences of our healthcare system. James’ call was that we must learn to be more transparent around safety, based on his experiences of cover-ups and injustices. Liz’s call was that we should never assume we know what people want from their care. We should learn to ask about things that really matter to them and the things that they need. I was blown away by both James’ and Liz’s accounts.

There were other notable headlines, but from the rather drier presentations on quality:

  • To get good quality in healthcare one needs good leadership, otherwise it won’t work. This may seem obvious but clearly it isn’t.
  • Let’s not just measure mortality but start doing something about morbidity by scaling up and refining our understanding of the full power of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs)

The above 2 points were congruent with some of the discussions from the Acting on Future Health conference at Imperial College Business School, which I covered in post 1 of this series.

What I liked about this conference and the general vibe: The vibe was quite formal – more suits and ties than I’ve seen for a while at healthcare conferences. The personal stories really had an impact and were a winner. Not just for me, but I think for all attendees. They have reinforced our approach at Saffron Steer to keep the healthcare conversation orientated around the people who access and experience care so that we set strategies around a better understanding of their needs and preferences. Again, this might seem an obvious thing to say but in truth the patient is often NOT at the heart of everyday business and many strategic intentions in the market reflect this!

Check out #HCAQoQ on Twitter for more on the buzz from this event.

Next post in the series will be on the 8th National Symposium: How patient outcome and experience data are transforming global healthcare, hosted by iWantGreatCare