Friday, 28 September 2012

Book Review: Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff

The authors define a groundswell as “…a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions”. mmm that sounds like an important thing to know about if you think you're a traditional institution, or if you think you're breaking new ground, or if you're a consumer wondering why you're starting to feel left out the loop.

What I liked about the book was the examples and case studies. Usually I skip these, however, I foudn these ones riveting reading. Who needs thriller novels when the business world presents us with such chaotic and roller coaster events. Fabulous.

I also found the way the book was constructed and organised to be very helpful, especially when faced with a disconcerting topic. Far from being disorganised, the underlying structure helped get the message through.

Read this book and it will move you on from thinking about "all we need to do is have the odd blog and a fancy web 2.0 website" and get you into strategising about your social media presence. I have always been convinced that social media is not just for the youngesters and this book has all the examples and conceptuals models to help you create some of your own thinking for your business to prove it is for everyone.

The book has, as you would expect, a great website. It is good to see them practising what they preach. They have a blog and there is also a social media profiling tool you can download and use.

I'm not one for giving 5 stars to a book, but this one deserves it. I might just read it a second time.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Digital Engagement: DoH, NHS, England

The Dept of Health is getting up to speed with digital engagement. There's an intro available on the website, along with links to other policies and hints etc.

Worth a look if you're in the NHS and new to all this social media and digital stuff.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Paper: Developing clinical guidelines - excellent set of papers

Here is a paper (series of three) from authors who are experts in this field. I've always been a bit ambivalent as to whether guidelines actually work - in terms of changing behaviour. I'm still not convinced but it's good to see a bit more work being done to identify the target audiences for guidelines as well as considering conflicts of interest etc.  Getting them right is a lot more complex than just collating what seems to be best practice, writing it up and then distributing them widely.

Oh, and the full text of the papers is free - that's nice.

Developing clinical practice guidelines

Edited by: Prof Martin Eccles, Dr Paul Shekelle 
Collection published: 4 July 2012
WordleThese articles describe the state of the art in developing clinical practice guidelines. As well as updating on established areas, such as evidence review and group composition, they also address contentious areas - conflicts of interest - and new and emerging topics including updating guidelines, dealing with co-morbidities and guideline implementability.
(Picture and text above is from the Implementation Science Webpage)

Friday, 21 September 2012

Book Review: Overtreated by Shannon Brownlee

The subtiutle of this book is "Why too much medicine is making us sicker and poorer". This book was quite shocking. I know there is a lot of what goes on in healthcare that is unnecessary yet to find a huge amount of detail and information in one place really put the issue into perspective. It is focused mainly on the USA though there are many parallels with other health systems.

Throughout the book, the author provides stories and examples to illustrate the data and statistics that without the stories would appear cold and less shocking.

As I read through the book, particularly in the early chapters I found myself going "I know him/her"! Shannon Brownlee hooks a fair amount of the debate onto the actions of some of the current health leaders in the USA (you might like to read the book to see if you are mentioned...!) There is an excellent chapter on the VA Healthcare systems, how it has improved and in many cases how it is an example of how healthcare in the USA could look and feel.

Chapters include:
  • Too much medicine: complelling arguments as to why population based healthcare would be a real improvement
  • The most dangerous place: beware the hospital and what might happen
  • Your local hospital: how uncoordinated care and overtreatment results in poor outcomes
  • Broken hearts: how the latest fad takes root, based on economics
  • The desperate cure: an argument for evidence based care if there ever was one
  • The limits of seeing: an expose on the limits to radiology tests
  • The persuaders: mmm who is influencing whom, and why?
  • Money, drugs and lies: why not to believe everything published in journals
  • The doctor isn't in: all about managed care
  • When less is more: some ideas to cope with over-capacity and overtreatment in the USA

This book is a must for every health care improver who believes their own project is making a difference... The strategic and tactical issues raised in it really provide a new perspective.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A Primer for Bloggers

Chris Brogan has blogged a brief list of things for newbie Bloggers to think through when starting up and maintaining a blog. Good hints and tips in here for healthcare and NHS bloggers.

I like #18 "Inspiration is both a verb and a muscle."

Digital Engagement: From participation to partnership PDF Report

Life moves on. Things change, well, mostly.  What seems not to be changing is the methods of involving, engaging and interacting with the public.  Some public sector groups are starting to grapple with how best to use technology to best effect. For instance, I learnt recently that after 6 weeks on no replies to email and 30 minutes waiting time on phone calls, that the best way to get a response from our local Council Waste and Recycling department, was to tweet. Instant response. Instant relief. Problem solved fairly quickly.

So what is healthcare doing? There's a proliferation of Twitter accounts being set up but these are mostly used as another channel for advertising with little listening going on.

Public and patient engagement is mandatory for the NHS, especially for the new CCGs (Clinical commissioning groups).  Digital engagement is more than setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts, or sending out emails asking for responses to documents.

This report from Future Digital, published in June 2012 has some excellent strategic and tactical ideas on how to get with the times and to design interventions that are appropriate for our 21st Century.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Book Review: The 29% Solution by Misner & Donovan

How can you improve your networking skills so you become one of the 29% of people who are separated from the rest of the world by six degrees? After explaining that we are not all connected to everyone by six degrees and that it takes some work to be in that position, this books provides a 52 week guide to achieving this.

Here are the week by week headings (it is worth reading the book to understand the detail underlying each one):
1. Set networking goals
2. Make time to network
3. Profile your preferred client
4. Recruit your word-of-mouth marketing team
5. Give to others first
6. Create a network relationship database
7. Master the top 10 traits of an effective networker (these include positive attitude, trustworthiness, good listening skills, helpfulness, timely response etc)
8. Diversify your contacts
9. Meet the right people
10. Reconnect with people from the past
11. Talk to your family
12. Break out of your "cave-like" routine
13. Participate in a web networking group
14. Become a centre of influence (develop magnetism)
15. Go the extra mile; be value-added
16. Become a catalyst who makes things happen
17. Find a networking partner to help accountability
18. Volunteer visibly
19. Send thank you cards
20. Follow up today
21. Be available 24/7
22. Create catalyst events beyond the workplace
23. Have purposeful meetings
24. Make first impressions count
25. Seek out a referral networking group
26. Join a Chamber of Commerce
27. Sponsor events
28. Host a purposeful event
29. Ask questions of others
30. Talk about benefits not features
31. Comunicate your business succinctly
32. Speak about your business
33. Leverage your business card
34. Give high-value presentations
35. Create an informative newsletter
36. Write press releases
37. Write your own identity
38. Ask for written testimonials
39. Share your success stories
40. Write your own personal introduction
41. Blow your own trumpet (or toot your own horn if you're in the USA!)
42. Ask for feedback
43. Adopt a host mentality at functions
44. Use the law of reciprocity
45. Write a letter of support
46. Ask for referrals
47. Read the paper with the intent to discover referrals
48. Conquer your public speaking fear
49. Become the hub of a power team
50. Become a networking mentor
51. Recruit an advisory board for your business
52. Commit to lifelong learning

(I've tweaked the wordings on the list a bit to suit my own understanding.)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Paper: Review of dimensions of community and organisational readiness for change

For the last few months I've been catching up on the latest papers about readiness for change. Mostly there is nothing new - just a confirmation of what we already know. But that doesn't mean it's not useful to check out what others are discovering.

This paper reviews other papers (a sort of not-quite-systematic-but-still-useful review). From this the authors note that climate, attitudes, commitment and capacity are the themes linking most of what they reviewed on the topic.  Makes sense to me.

Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2012 Summer;6(2):219-26.
Dimensions of community and organizational readiness for change.
CastaƱeda SFHolscher JMumman MKSalgado HKeir KBFoster-Fishman PGTalavera GA.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Book Review: Tribes: we need you to lead us; by Seth Godin

All of Seth Godin's books are amongst my favourites - sometimes you just resonate with an author. I like the way he speaks his mind and is unafraid to test out new thoughts and ideas.

He explains a tribe is nothing ore than a group of people connected to an idea, a leader and one another. His point is that with the web as it is developing we have more ways to find people of similar ilk and to join the "tribe". However, not all of these groups are fruitful and they need leaders and facilitation in order for them to be productive and constructive. This leadership angle is important.

Seth Godin's thoughts as I connected to them in this book is that being a leader of a tribe is tough and demanding. Often tribal leaders are accused of being outside the norm - a bit of a heretic. He believes that the leaders who are perceived as such and who stick to their views will win out in the end.

What does the author suggest we do to grow these tribal social movements?
1. Publish a manifesto; state who you are and what you are about
2. Others need to find and connect to you - make this as easy as possible
3. Keep the financial stuff in the background
4. Publicly track your movement's momentum and growth
mmm easy on paper though I wonder just how easy it is to do these things.

As good as his books, I also recommend Seth's Blog and you can find out more about him and his books at

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Paper: Framework for analysing collective action events on Twitter

This freely available paper (PDF) is one for the nerdy person like me who wants a bit of theory and a framework to figure out what goes on when Twitter is used for collective action.

It's a shortish, easy to read and I think valuable addition to our thinking and understanding of the use oif Twitter for large scale change.