University of Oxford Green Templeton College HEXI Home Page Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

January 2017

Tim Read

The New Year is often a period when you spend time reflecting on the past and making plans for the year ahead. With this in mind, I have taken a moment to reflect on a year spent as a HEXI visiting fellow, and can share some thoughts about what I have learnt from bringing together academic experts and public policy professionals.

1. The internet is no longer an optional extra when it comes to engagement
Sometimes it is worth stressing the simple things, and one is that online engagement is nothing to be scared of. A Twitter conversation is easy to set up and cheap to run, but the value it can bring a project is immense. Online communities are full of professionals and people who use services willing to share their experiences, engage in conversations and add unique, practical insights grounded in real world reality. The only thing you have to do is ask!

2. Act local, think national
It is important to recognise where improvements will have most value. Improving patient experience can happen quickest by working with existing local networks and involving those organisations with decision-making powers. However scalability should always be considered. A project shouldn’t be rejected if couldn’t work elsewhere, but any proposal should think through how it could share its learning so that it can inform conversations nationally.

3. Don’t reinvent the wheel, instead find ways to improve it
Patient experience is a hot topic in both the academic and public policy worlds. However there are risks that as local organisations develop their own approaches and innovation funding is granted across different academic networks, that practical work and academic thinking gets unintentionally duplicated. A crucial starting point of any new project should be to review and understand gaps in existing practice to be clear on where value can be added.

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