Nuffield Nominations: good reads from 2016

Here, our experts Nigel Edwards and Candace Imison share what they’ve been reading (and listening to) this year.

Blog post

Published: 22/12/2016

Catching up on your reading over Christmas? We’re sure you’re not the only one.

2016 has been quite the year. As well as Brexit, in health and social care it's been the year of STPs, the year of record provider deficits and the year of the junior doctors' strike. We've also seen the launch of NHS Improvement, alongside innovation test beds sprouting across the NHS.

In turbulent times, it’s particularly useful to read from a range of viewpoints to help make sense of what has been going on. We've put together a list of 12 highlights from the Nuffield Trust this year to help.

However, it wasn't just the Nuffield Trust who put out lots of useful health policy analysis and commentary. Here we share what we’ve been reading (and listening to) this year.

1. The Hard Work of Health Care Transformation – Richard Bohmer, The New England Journal of Medicine

A great, short read from Richard Bohmer, pointing to a need to rethink how we approach change, and in particular the important role of front line staff, their immediate supervisors and middle managers.

2. Does quality improvement improve quality? – Mary Dixon Woods, Future Hospital Journal

Picking up similar themes on change, Mary Dixon Woods argues that quality improvement interventions are all too often seen to be magic bullet solutions that can improve quality in any situation. Sharing lessons of success and failure would be a better approach.

3. Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success – Matthew Syed

An easy read, this book draws novel lessons about the importance of failure and the ability to learn from it in an interesting and engaging way.

4. Cost Containment and the Tale of Care Coordination – J. Michael McWilliams, The New England Journal of Medicine

This really challenges some of the assumptions about integration and care coordination that are being baked into STPs.

5. How medicine has exploited rationality at the expense of humanity: an essay by Iona Heath, The BMJ and Redefining quality: valuing the role of the GP in managing uncertainty by Martin Marshall, the BJGP

Two philosophical thought pieces from doctors asking some deep questions about professionalism and uncertainty in health care.

6. Trust me – Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics podcast

This is a great podcast exploring the creation of social capital in an increasingly fragmented and isolated society. It talks about how diverse societies are generally more innovative and productive, but it’s often difficult getting there.

7. 11 health system CEOs on the single health care problem they want fixed tonight – Tamara Rosin, Becker’s Hospital Review

An interesting look at a range of different systems, all sharing common problems.

8. Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies – Jonathan Freedland, Guardian Comment is Free

For those of us in the research community, this is a worry.

9. A Doctor Shortage? Let’s Take a Closer Look – Aaron E. Carroll, The New York Times

Is there really a doctor shortage or are medical professionals being used inefficiently?

10. Ethnographic process evaluation of a quality improvement project to improve transitions of care for older people – Elizabeth Sutton et al, BMJ Open

Another great article, illuminating the challenge of quality improvement and implementation.

Suggested citation

Edwards N and Imison C (2016) 'Nuffield Nominations: good reads from 2016'. Nuffield Trust comment, 22 December 2016.