🏥 IMAX Healthcare

How can you solve a problem obliquely? Like our toilet cleaner in the shower experience, qualification blocks our thinking. Toilet bowl cleaner is for toilets, not showers. If we categorize, measure, or quantify something in one area we will optimize that.

Waiting is like this. Who likes waiting? No one! Shorten the waits!

Well, only if the waiting is bad. Ask your friends this: assuming both trips take the same amount of time, would you rather sit in traffic on a direct route or drive through the rolling countryside in an indirect way. There’s no correct answer but there is information in the different answers.

Patron Saint of this newsletter Rory Sutherland mentioned this.

Do you want to reduce waiting times or do you want to reduce patient annoyance? That is an important question and the answer is probably both. It would be a massive inefficiency if you made NHS waiting rooms unbelievably entertaining. Like the IMAX NHS waiting room so people willingly spent days in there with free coffee. You would have a problem with efficiency and overcrowding. - Rory Sutherland

The answer isn’t to make the waiting rooms super nice, but to make the experience slightly better. And slightly better is often much cheaper.

In systems with diminishing returns to work (e.g. losing weight), it makes sense to optimize for a different variable at some point in time. If the NHS wait time was zero minutes that would be great, but the cost would be astronomical? With this approach, most situations suggest improvement in one area, and then a switch to a secondary (often overlooked).