Thursday, 9 February 2012

Trip Advisor

There is obviously a cost to managing any operation and perhaps one of the arts of senior management is to put in place sufficient control systems without the costs becoming exorbitant. This concept applies to government as well as business. As Merryn Somerset Webb writes in this blog post (commenting on Tim Morgan's "Reform Trilogy"), undoing layers of administration from the NHS could save billions.
Over the last 50 or so years there have been serious improvements in quality management, from Deming's Total Quality Management to 6 Sigma, and the notion that improvements in quality can reduce costs by reducing defects is well founded. So care must be taken not to destroy essential management systems. But there is a concurrent idea, that customer experience is important and customers are the best people to judge it. In business, marketing departments have a host of techniques to measure customer experience. Each with their cost.
Trip Advisor offers a different way of doing this. It gets the customer to do the work of contributing to improving the system by offering an easy way for them to express their opinion. This could be applied to government services at relatively little cost.
Such a system may benefit from integration with Interactive Democracy because ID links your identification with your right to vote in an online system. It may be extended to identify you as a patient at an NHS facility at a certain time, indicating that your online opinion isn't mendacious, and giving you the right to express your opinion on-line.
Though the results of such a system may inform patient choice the more important benefit is that it will likely motivate staff to improve in all sorts of subtle ways.

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