Healthcare is complex. It has been described as the most complex industry on the planet. Both its providers (staff) and receivers (patients) are dynamic, interactive and adaptive.

  • ‘Fixing’ a human is unlike fixing a car – no two are exactly the same.
  • A hospital is not a hotel – every human need and therefore interaction is quite different.
  • Each day, process and step are different because we start different – and then change each other with each interaction.

This makes healthcare both exciting and frustrating. Humans are influenced by complex past, present and future factors – social, cultural, physical and psychological – such that standardisation, while logical, can become counter-productive.

Thinking at both the macroscopic systems level and the microscopic individual level for both staff and patients helps to identify the intended and unintended consequences of interventions. Macroscopic standardisation can work for nations, states and facilities – with localised support for ‘microscopic’ individualisation to humanise interactions.

Such a system is robust and strengthened by external pressures, such as societal expectations and technological change. Why? Because local adaptation ensures that what matters to patients, and staff, gets done first. Satisfaction at work is the result. High performing staff, teams and facilities are built on the great culture that develops.

We can have affordable, available and accessible healthcare for all – and we can start now.


“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” – Leo Tolstoy

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