The NHS: Agile at 60?

Listening to plans for the Darzi review of the 60 year old NHS I was struck by the parallel between the user stories surfaced by Patient Opinion and the user stories that drive Agile software development.

Like a lot of memes that start in tech space, Agile development is breaking out of it's pure software background and being applied in other ways, which is why I asked Rob Purdie to do an Agile workshop for Make Your Mark. In Agile, the user stories have the form "As a [Type of User], [Function to Perform] so that [Business Value]".

At the same time, bottom-up initiatives like Patient Opinion are aggregating the stories of NHS users. As it says on the site: "People tell us that the most important thing for them is that their story is used to make services better for other people".

The Darzi review of the NHS makes great play of patient's views, without really explaining how these will gain traction within a top-down bureaucratic structure. The scaleability of the social web has the potential to push patient stories through the force-field of institutional inertia. May the good old NHS become more agile at 60.