Pain can be a beautiful thing. And in my case quite an inspiring thing too. For the last 5 days I’ve been stuck in hospital with severe back pains – which have meant I’ve been totally bed bound, and completely dependent on the nurses at Kings College Hospital London (who have – by the way – been really great!)
Anyway, lying in bed – in pain – inspired me yesterday morning: could I be of any use to hospital lying here? The hospital staff are being great – but could I add anything – could I help improve how the hospital is run?
And the answer is of course YES. As a patient I – and the hundreds of other patients – are in the best place to help the hospital improve, as we’re the ones at the coal-face, experiencing the end products that the hospital delivers – whether that’s a quick fix in A&E, or a longer stay in one of the wards.
The only issue is how you collate and make sense of this collective experience. And the answer to that is the internet – create a crowd-sourcing website with a focus on collating “ideas of how to improve the hospital” and let patients share ideas, and self-organise the value of those ideas via rating and commenting systems. Given I’m the co-founder of an e-democracy company – Delib – that specialises in citizen empowerment – this was the easy bit!
So lying in my hospital bed – I asked a couple of my colleagues in Bristol to quickly put together a patient crowd-sourcing site using our one of our apps – and 2 hours later we launched “Help us Improve Kings”.
Check the site crowd-sourcing site here (and add ideas if you have any!)
With the prototype site up and live, I’m now in the process of getting patients to take part and share their experiences and ideas – a bit of a tricky feat given I can’t walk, but they’re coming in slowly as I lynch people walking past my room! I’m also in the process of talking to the Patient Involvement team @ Kings – as obviously to make this work, we really need them on board to actually turn the ideas generated into concrete actions.
So there you go – an example of bottom-up patient power – empowered by the wonders of broadband and a wonderful set of e-democracy apps. Social media empowerment at its finest!
And most importantly this is a lesson to all those brands / businesses / government departments out there who are trying to work out how to make their business work better – the answer: empower your customers and employees and they will in turn help power your business!