What Is Flow And How Can It Improve Healthcare?

Last week’s post, Achieving A Flow State In Healthcare… briefly introduced Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow which describes the linear relationship of an optimal experience as an individual’s skill level, or perceived skill level, being equal to the challenges in front of them. The higher the skill level someone achieves, the higher the challenge that must be sought to achieve flow–or the feeling that time is standing still, and all consciousness of self and others is lost to the task at hand. Some describe the feeling as being “in the zone” — or “time flying by” when working at a task. In Csikszentmihalyi’s TED Talk below, he speaks of flow as a state of mind similar to all, but achieved via individual routes, unique to each person’s abilities and desires. According to him, flow can be achieved with intention, and is a way to experience life to the fullest.

MedStar Health’s Institute for Innovation is also a believer in flow. Below, Dr. Mark Smith, Director of the Institute for Innovation, introduces Dr. Allan Hamilton, a neuroscientist who Smith enlisted to introduce his healthcare administrator and provider audience to the concept. Flow, as Hamilton sees it, defines life’s exceptional moments. Since so many moments of our lives are spent at work, which for healthcare providers includes the influence and impact on patients’ live, it would make sense to learn the skills which make those moments–those interactions–exceptional.

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