June 1, 2009

A day with Patient Opinion

Filed under: projects — benmetz @ 7:49 am

I spent Friday in Sheffield with Paul and James, the founders and directors of Patient Opinion, a web platform that empowers NHS patients to provide feedback and so help shape and improve health services. It’s a phenomenally powerful initiative – bringing the reduction in the cost of providing voice and the revolution in connectivity that the Internet provides to the health service in the UK.  But it doesn’t stop there…  I met with them at a time where there is real and building interest for PO to:

  • roll out internationally
  • scale up significantly within the UK health service and give the current incumbent (NHS choices) a run for its money, and
  • replicate into completely different sectors – education, policing, etc….

So you can imagine it was an exciting and energising meeting.  And another good example of the kind of stuff I’ve been working on over the last few years – and what I hope to continue working on following this soon to be had career ‘discontinuity’!

We spent the day discussing strategy and the structure and financing required to realise the opportunities currently unfolding for them.  Rather than nail our conversation down in this post it’s probably better to explore it through the kind of questions we were asking.  Plus – this is a dynamic and ongoing conversation so these are the questions that are still on the table and will be shaped and answered in forthcoming meetings:

  • How to prioritise development opportunities – specifically how to enable international roll out without creating a drain or distraction on the major opportunity of delivering real change across the UK health service.
  • Possibilities for monetising international roll out without compromising the open source, collaborative nature of PO.
  • How to engage with a major potential investor.  Identifying what PO’s non-negotiables are, what social and financial return will be, what the legal structure required will be and whether this combined package will be acceptable to the prospective investor.
  • How to create both a greatly increased PR and media prescence and a coherent and impactful lobby.
  • Interesting and funky mechanisms for the combining of funding and public engagement with PO…

To get involved with these guys over the next few months, such an important and formative time for PO, is a real privelidge.  It’s also a great opportunity for me to hone my approach and to road test whether the kind of swerveball strategy thinking I have come to specialise in is a saleable commodity.  Early indicators are that this is very much the case.  Watch this space…


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