A good friend, Bill Russell, tweeted a link to "A surrealistic mega-analysis of redisorganization theories" published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, December 2005. Yes, it's a Christmas edition spoof, however, there is some unnerving truth underlying the splendidly irreverent - and creative - paper. I share it nervously, as I wouldn't be surprised to find it turned into a PowerPoint and a half day course being run to teach people the theories.
The paper got me thinking about the tendency of Healthcare Improvement Leaders to grasp at the latest theory that comes their way, further confusing the people they are expected to serve with their "leadership". Recently I have encountered an exhortation about the need for consistency and a single model for change in the NHS; countered by the push of new ideas and theories, which dilute this message. As well as new concepts being presented as though they are the next best way to make an improvement / support change; the concept is a concept - it has not been fully tested.
The frivolousness and scattergun approach for supporting healthcare staff and their organisations is unlikely to be a useful one. My concern is the endless search for the quick fix is confusing people. In addition, when one theory ends up not working in practice, then I'm not seeing the evaluations, reviews and sharing of lessons (as in role modelling learning and improvement). Therefore each new concept is being built on an ever-weakening foundation.
The value of of those who lead improvement and change in healthcare I believe, should be based on the depth and pervasiveness of change they support, rather than on the number of new concepts of pilot projects they put into the system.