The diffusion of innovations or new technologies takes a long time.
Currently we have fifteen Acadmic Health Science Networks who have been funded to set up patient safety collaboratives to tackle some intractable patient safety problems using innovation and improvement methods.
However, it may be worth their while to try to imagine what society, social behaviour and attitudes are going to be in the future and how these will impact on the NHS and then design the solutions for the future.
Even once a new idea has been found, spread of any new change can take decades.
What will the NHS look like in decades?
What we do know is that we have an unprecedented access to data (but not enough of the right information) we can hear about other people’s work (but not quite understand how they achieved what they did), we have ways to connect people and ideas we couldn’t have even dreamed of a few years ago and social media is changing the way we communicate and who we communicate with – breaking down hierarchies and stereotypical behaviours.
How does this impact on the NHS?
We also know is that we have yet to fully implement the multiple safer practices that already exist.
Perhaps instead of trying to innovate for a future that is unclear we should put all our efforts into working out how to find out what is really working, stopping what isn’t and spread and sustain what we do know works now?