I read an interesting article on the Beeb’s website regarding how the NHS have over 100 types of reports defined for the same information.


“The way vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature are monitored in hospitals needs to be standardised across the NHS, experts say. Currently over 100 different models are used, causing confusion and sometimes delays in patients getting help.”

Now it seems to me that divesting local control over something which happens on a national scale is just asking for trouble. Everyone has blood pressure, temperature, and so forth taken as part of a routine. Routine should mean a very standard and repeatable process. And from standard process should come standard reporting. But it clearly doesn’t. And certainly when organisations set up similar functions, whether they rival the scale of the NHS or not (for example, local authority councils, telecoms/ media/insert here call centres) handing responsibilities of process control and ownership on a local level just creates variation and chaos, so much so that it becomes an expensive exercise to wrestle it back in line and standardise again.

But why does this happen time and again ?

Does the NHS not have an efficient programme of change and business improvement professionals capable of identifying opportunities for streamlining rather than rely on the Royal College of Surgeons ?!

I’m sure it does, but it all obviously operates on a local level and the ability to communicate about all things process driven back to the parent or even laterally seems entirely lost the more control is handed to the children. Time to slap on the BPM training harness methinks. This is where process management comes into its own. The point is to look at things laterally rather than vertically, drop the functional silo approach to process and think horizontal not hierarchical. Whether you use a strong discipline and approach to BPM or leverage a BPMS to enable you further shouldn’t matter, but what should matter is how you socialise the way you conduct process management and improvement. To socialise is to involve.

Involve: to make them take part in or feel part of it, to influence or affect, wrap and envelop

Business Process Management is about involvement. Sure you can preach the management bingo sheet and use words such like holistic (which funnily relates to the organic or functional relation between parts and the whole) but when it comes down to it, involvement is about people. And people are always and forever going to be part of the process.

So recognise that when you decide to act locally, you’re no longer involving everyone.