Updated 16:48 December 31st 2023

Fix IT
How to see and solve the problems of digital healthcare

Prof Harold Thimbleby

See Change Fellow in Digital Health

October 2021

Winner of the BMA (British Medical Association) General Medicine best book award

The BMA Awards Panel wrote: “It is such an important book. Our ability to help patients is so reliant on IT and digital solutions. It has the broadest appeal and has achieved something quite impressive. It is not just medically-focused in presenting solutions. A real strength is that it takes examples from outside of healthcare and translates them into healthcare. It should be read by all healthcare staff.”

This is an important, badly needed book, written in a lively enjoyable style. It should be required reading for anyone who is in healthcare or who develops, designs, and builds healthcare instruments, devices, and procedures.

Don Norman
Founder and Director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego
Author of Design of everyday things.

This book draws you in from the start. It is a must read for anybody who cares about improving the state of healthcare with the goal of better patient outcomes.

Sally Lewis
Primary Care Physician and National Clinical Lead
for Value-Based and Prudent Healthcare, Wales

This is an extraordinary book: a potent and engaging compendium of revelatory stories, bold insights, wise advice, and fresh thinking. This book has the potential to revolutionize digital healthcare, and will be a source of inspiration to everyone, whether in healthcare or beyond.

Prof Daniel Jackson
Professor of Computer Science

I’m loving your book. Cancelled what I was doing this afternoon to carry on reading it.

This is a brilliant and hugely enjoyable book which should be compulsory reading for anyone with high-level responsibility for patient care.

Dr Martin Elliott
former Medical Director at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children

Harold Thimbleby turns tales of healthcare technologies’ limits and failures into engaging and instructive stories that are a pure joy to read.

It’s a very rare book that makes me call or email my friends several times each hour with quotes or insights from every chapter. It’s an extraordinary book that forces me to change my medical informatics courses every week!

Prof Ross Koppel
Professor of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania

Harold Thimbleby’s lifetime devotion to fixing the problems with medical devices and systems shines through in this amazing book.

The profusion of compelling examples are told with stories of real patients who were harmed and heroic medical professionals who tried their best. The deadly dramas are lucidly told with literary skill and scientific integrity, which should inspire Hollywood films.

Prof Ben Shneiderman
Distinguished University Professor
University of Maryland

Fix IT is a book about digital healthcare and how it impacts on all of us, whether patients or healthcare professionals. The unique contribution of this book is to explain, with lots of powerful stories, how surprisingly risky digital healthcare is, and how it can be made much safer. The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Diagnosis – Riskier than you think. You will learn about the unnoticed risks of digital healthcare, and the serious problems that arise when digital is misunderstood and misapplied.
  2. Treatment – Finding solutions. The problems are fixable. The solutions aren’t just about getting newer or more exciting stuff; the solutions are about thinking more clearly to understand what we need, and how to innovate, design and implement digital healthcare more reliably.
  3. Prognosis – A better future. There is a possible, much better, safer, and more effective digital healthcare for all of us. The final part of the book sketches the digital promise.

All chapters have lots of stories that’ll be of interest to both patients and healthcare professionals, but the digital in digital healthcare isn’t avoided. There are a few readable but more technical chapters, of special interest to programmers, developers and regulators — these more technical digital chapters are highlighted with a computer chip.

The book includes a generous bibliography for further reading, plus lots of notes referencing public and peer reviewed evidence.

Prof Harold Thimbleby is See Change Fellow in Digital Health, based at Swansea University in Wales.

Harold is Expert Advisor on IT to the Royal College of Physicians, a member of the World Health Organization’s Patient Safety Network, Patient Safety Council Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, and an advisor to the Clinical Human Factors Group and to the UK Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). He is also a patient. He has peripheral neuropathy, which makes activities like walking and writing painful and increasingly difficult.

Harold has been invited to talk in over 30 countries: he is a very popular speaker. Do invite him to talk about Fix IT and how to make healthcare safer. Do email him: harold@thimbleby.net

More details, including offprints of hundreds of articles and videos, are available from Harold’s website at www.harold.thimbleby.net

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