Connecting for Health and NPfIT: dealing with the paradoxes of implementation.

Connecting for Health and NPfIT: Heraclitus on Change and Ambiguity

“Things which are put together are both whole and not whole, brought together and taken apart, in harmony and out of harmony; one thing arises from all things, and all things arise from one thing.”

Though his work survives in fragments, some of them maddening difficult to penetrate, Heraclitus may have had a more fundamental influence on the formation of the European mind than any other thinker.

Heraclitus postulated that the universe is in constant change and that there is an underlying order or reason to this change—the Logos. According to Heraclitus, the universe comprised a series of paired opposites, which provide the basis for some of his more paradoxical ideas, such as: “That which opposes produces benefit.”

But what has all this to do with health IT and NPfIT? Healthcare is in constant change. Often, the underlying reason for change is the well being of the patient. Nonetheless, there are some paradoxes to be wrestled with:

  • Connecting for health with give the NHS better information systems, and better information systems will produce more information. More information is not necessarily better.
  • IT may improve and worsen practice. For example, staff may spend less time attending to the patient and more time navigating the IT.
  • Your NPfIT Local Service Provider (LSP) is a partner whose goals are not necessarily completely aligned with yours.
  • Integrated IT improves information exchange, but may reduce the flexibility and specificity of clinical processes.
  • Staff must be engaged by the deployment of IT and challenged by it.
Kinetic Consulting can help you to thrive on the paradoxes of health IT.
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