This is the second blog in a series about timebanking. You can read the first blog here.
In the midst of a global pandemic where life has been turned upside down, where we have our own worries and concerns, there has been an outpouring of understanding of just how interconnected we are as individuals in our societies- locally, nationally and internationally. There has been a move from individualism to collectivism all around us. Hexitime, the world’s first health improvement timebank, represents collectivism in health and social care.
Hexitime is a place where we have time and space for each other – for those whom we have never met, and unlikely to meet, we share, we raise each other up and that sharing is of equal value – titles don’t matter but the skills and knowledge you have to share does. As everyone’s time is valued equally it allows everyone to legitimately access resources, experience and expertise that would otherwise be the entitlement of the few. It’s in this sharing that benefits the wider community and the system as a whole. We connect across regions, organisations and hierarchies as the normal barriers to access and opportunity have been removed. As a Muslim woman of Pakistani heritage it has been freeing and liberating to have a new world of opportunity open up to me. All this for just 1 hour of your time, in exchange for a credit.
I became a Hextime ambassador, to shape and share Hexitime with the wider health community to improve patient care and experience.I could see the enormous potential it represents for supporting individuals and organisations for change, improvement and innovation across the system, in particular those from underrepresented groups.
My first exchange on the platform came about as a result of an innovation research project I was working on. I needed help in understanding how to develop digital innovations in healthcare. I have learnt that if there is something you are wanting to do and don’t know how, find someone who has done it before you and ask them. Hexitime gave that opportunity. I connected with a founder of a digital health company who was offering mentoring in this space. We spoke for an hour about the journey he had undertaken to realise his aspirations, the ups and and the downs – really valuable information in helping me decide what was the next right step for me to take. Once the exchange took place I gave a Hexitime credit- simple.
Another example of an exchange on the platform was a Hexitimer asking for support for multiple root cause analysis to support improving patient discharge from acute care setting to the community. A problem faced by many organisations across the system, the feedback was ‘the person who came forward has been amazing- great skills and high interest in this area’. The collective wisdom of those who have experienced similar issues could be shared via the platform. Thus pooling our resources maximising the skills and experiences on offer to us, without needing to pay for expensive consultancy.
The exchanges were of mutual benefit. Hextime benefits the individual users when they have specific questions like I did and was searching for help. Also when we have system level problems such as discharging patients from acute to community settings. I gained new knowledge and the other party, a way of paying it forward to have someone else to learn from their own experience so perhaps not make the same mistakes. To those offering their time they know that they are positively adding to an ecosystem of change and a desire to make a radical difference to patient care across the system.
These are just two examples of exchanges. With multiple exchanges like this, I believe it will have a huge positive effect on the system. Hexitime is a diverse Community of Purpose whose members only feature in common is that they want to improve health and care. The old clubs and cliques are sidelined by those with a higher purpose and a belief that change is not only possible but also one that they can contribute to in a meaningful way.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day – can you exchange just one of yours in the mission of improving health and social care?. With your offer on Hexitime, anyone in the platform can take it up, so you are making a tangible step towards making it a more inclusive world.
Dr. Myra Malik
Dr Myra Malik is a Consultant Anaesthetist at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with an interest in obstetric anaesthesia. Myra is a Hexitime Ambassador and a strong advocate for the mission of Hextime to improve health and social care using timebanking. Myra has a keen interest in medical leadership and management and has completed with distinction a Master’s programme at Imperial College London Business School in International Health Management. Myra’s previous roles have included as Associate Medical Director of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management for which she awarded her Associate Fellowship.
Declaration of interests
I have read and understood the BMJ Group policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: Hexitime Ambassador.