What is your Unique Selling Point (USP), even the Big Issue seller I pass on a regular basis now has a USP. Today he was playing a flute and shouting the catch phrase at the same time! Whilst it was a strange sight to behold it certainly grabbed my attention and I would imagine his sales were up on the next guy just doing the usual!

It got me thinking though, what is our USP? And that only got me asking questions of of all the different hierarchy’s of USP, personal, team, system and organisation. As an organisation we believe that the our USP is;

“The NHS is the most integrated research system in the world.”

As an organisation we ‘hang our coat’ on that USP a great deal, ensuring that it remains true is what translates into the system and teams objectives. If we were going to point to something as an overall mission for the implementation of our systems maybe supporting this statement would be it.

As an organisation we state that we provide

“…the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS, so that patients can benefit from new and better treatments, and we can learn how to improve NHS healthcare for the future.”

Often this statement is translated into the simple phrase, health and wealth of the nation. As an organisation USP its something great to get behind, and is something that a networked organisation of around 10,000 people can really understand, which is a credit to the team that developed it.

The term USP was ‘coined’ in the 1940s as a term to express successful TV advertising campaigns by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company. Theodore Levitt, a professor at Harvard Business School  around the same time then suggested that, “Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”  USP for us means a lot more than the advertising differentiator, it is more a positioning statement that should occupy a consumers mind and enable them to compare one offering to a competitors. So, the USP now means the difference between the brand and it’s competitors.

So, apply that theory to Clinical Research globally. The NHS is the most integrated care system in the world, one of the few systems that is free at the point of care and offers the clinical record from cradle to grave. With that in mind we really do have an opportunity to be a global leader in the delivery of high quality clinical research.

The delivery of informatics to support clinical research then takes this in to account. How to ensure that we deploy systems as effectively as possible without distracting the clinician or researcher from the work they are here to do. This is becoming our USP in 2014, unobtrusive systems deployed to support the research journey, collect appropriate data at the point of care and enable an integrated clinical research journey. Not just rhetoric any more but a reality for the NHS.

At a meeting of the new Local Clinical Research Network senior staff last week there was a real understanding and positivity about the deployment of systems, how they will bring benefit and how experiences of the implementation of systems could be shared. Having been involved in Health Care IT for some time it was so refreshing to hear different organisations offering to share resource, best practice and even appropriate data. And this then, starts to be a further USP for clinical research in the UK. The new organisation structures are further enabling collaboration across formal organisational structures, truly allowing leadership to blossom that can continue to add to the NHS being not just the most integrated but also the most complete place to do clinical research in the world.

But what of that personal USP, as an organisation we are trying to facilitate the development of personal USP all the time, new, different knowledge, skills and experiences make the team a rounded function that can deliver for the organisation. It is the time of year when the annual planning round is in full swing and staff are all working together to agree what the team Values, Strategies, Aims and Measures are. My senior teams USP came to fore in the last week for me, as they were able to grab hold of this task and create our annual plan together in a collaborative way that really does set the bar at an achievable benefits driven level for the next twelve months. A description that hooks back to the USP of the organisation and the system.

Exciting times all round!