SenseMaker® in Health – recognition of the power of 10,000 Voices

Published by Tony Quinlan on

The National Health Service in Northern Ireland are among the earliest users of SenseMaker®, working with network member Anne McMurray to explore multiple health-focussed issues.  Early examples included work around bereavement in families, allowing local teams to improve and adapt the support they provide – a report from that project is here.

Most recently, the excellent 10,000 Voices programme has been gathering thousands of patient experiences from the region – and it was recognised by Sir Liam Donaldson, the ex-Chief Medical Officer for the UK, in his recent report into the state of healthcare in Northern Ireland. Here’s what he said:

At the heart of the traditional approach to assessing whether a service is responsive to its patients and the public are surveys of patient experience and attitudes. This is still a very important part of modern health and social care. In many major centres whose services are highly rated, such surveys are regularly carried out and used to judge performance at the organisational, service and individual practitioner level, as well as, in some cases, being linked to financial incentives. Indeed, in the United States system, observers say that it was not until surveys of patient experience were linked to dollars that it was taken seriously. This is not a prominent feature of the Northern Ireland system,although there is some very good practice, for example the 10,000 Voices initiative, which has so far drawn on the experience of over 6,000 patients and led to new pathways of care in pain management, caring for children in Emergency Departments, and generally focusing on the areas of dignity and respect.

And in his final recommendations:

Northern Ireland has done some good work in the field of patient engagement, in particular the requirement to involve patients and families in Serious Adverse Incident investigation, the 10,000 voices initiative, in the field of mental health and in many aspects of social care.

It illustrates how SenseMaker® is helping delve into some of the more difficult areas of healthcare in ways that raise important issues and allow them to be addressed – all improving both patient experience and outcomes.

Kudos to Christine Armstrong and her team for running such an acclaimed programme.  I’m looking forward to visiting in October to train up the next generation of SenseMaker® users…