What did I enjoy?
Wednesday in the Leeds office, which is becoming a regular habit. There weren’t many of us in, but I did have a chance meeting with Jane, one of our small but brilliant commercial team, who I’d preciously only worked with via video calls.
I was privileged to chair the Joint Digital Policy and Strategy fortnightly all staff meeting, with two presentations from strategy colleagues. There’s a lot of strategy work all coming together at once, which should be really helpful for delivery teams to make sure they’re all working towards the right patient and service outcomes.
Because it was half term week, for at least some my colleagues, my diary was a little less meeting-packed than usual, and I felt more productive for it. I even ended Friday with no unread emails.
One of the upsides of a slightly less meeting-heavy week was that I was able to attend all three show and tells from teams in Urgent & Emergency Care Digital Services – the regular 111 online one, plus more focused sessions from teams working on web chat and patient encounter history. Show and tells are one of the best ways for a senior responsible owner to get assurance that teams understand their user needs and are making progress on delivery.
After the 111 online show and tell, Micol, the Senior User Researcher on the team, sent me a summary of broader emerging insights that don’t always make their way directly into new product features, but ought to help us to steer the portfolio as a whole. For example, some users report going in circles between 111 and their GPs trying to get help with a health problem.
Circular journeys not only lead to delays in users accessing the care they need, but also frustration over having to explain what their problems are multiple times.
We need to find ways to surface and act on insights like these, even when there’s not an obvious thing that can be done about them inside a single product.
What was hard?
I did find the news from Ukraine unsettling. At least one colleague from our directorate has family members in the country, and the rise in international tension does make everything else feel more, well, tense.
What do I need to take care of?
I published a thread on my quarter century in digital. As I look back at my experience in media and telecoms, I can see clear parallels with trends unfolding now in health tech. But I need to hold my experience lightly and not be the grumpy old guy who’s seen it all before.