“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent-Györgyi
Last week, Dr. Mark Smith, Director of MedStar Health’s Institute for Innovation (MI2), and his team, invited ~250 MedStar associates to “think differently,” during a day of inspiration and thought-provoking presentations meant to catalyze innovation in healthcare. The foundational premise at MI2 is that there exists a tremendous amount of untapped creative capital at MedStar and healthcare in general, and by encouraging all to “think differently,” solutions to yet unsolved healthcare challenges can be uncovered. Smith designed MI2 to thrive in the thinking space, reframing existing healthcare challenges by aiming intentional thought from new directions, changing altitude–literally and figuratively–as needed. The Institute’s tag line keeps them in the company of easily recognized game changing organizations such as IBM’s “Think” and Apple’s, “Think different”.
The Innovations Day “Early Bird” session kicked off the day’s agenda with Steven Johnson’s TED Talk, Where Good Ideas Come From (see below). The basis of Johnson’s talk is that good ideas take time to grow, and need to be nourished and built upon by others. Those Eureka! moments aren’t reality, according to Johnson, but the process can be accelerated by tapping into the liquid networks of knowledge that surround us–and why the MI2 team was encouraging all in their audience to celebrate the individual expertise in the room.
Dr. Ed Tori, aka The Patient Whisperer, followed with his talk on influence, Seduction Artists, Con Men & Cult Leaders, and How They Can Save Healthcare. Tori uses his growing mastery of influence to connect the head, heart and gut–not only with his patients, but his colleagues and kids as well. “Who wants broccoli?” takes on a whole new meaning in the Tori household when suggested with enthusiasm, authenticity, and a “go first” attitude. Influence, Tori shared, is about managing states and emotions. If you can change the mood, the mind will follow, but connecting on an emotional level is a must and the way to build the rapport needed to engender a following. While this may be a new skill set for many who studied the sciences, it is one that can be learned if the mind and the heart are willing.
Each encounter with a patient is a gift and an opportunity to connect, Tori also reminded the audience. Don Berwick has spoken on this very topic more than once (Google Don Berwick Yale Medical School Address). Care providers are often thrust into their patients’ lives at a time they are most vulnerable. As such, a patient’s authenticity detector is on high alert, per Mark Smith. The words you choose during these highly charged moments of opportunity can make all the difference–whether the patient leaves with a burden lifted, a mother’s concerns are gently eased, or a grandfather returns home with heightened anxiety because he never asked the question weighing heavy on his heart. As a writer, the following YouTube video shared by Tori last week, was a splendid reminder of the impact words can have–simply by altering their order or emphasis. Written, spoken or withheld–words have the power to create meaning that previously did not exist, turn strangers into those with a common purpose, and improve the well-being of others. Which words will you choose to change healthcare for the better? Please share them.
On the Harvard Business Review Blog Network last week, Jordan Cohen’s piece, “Love, Trust, and Candor: Today’s Management Priorities” outlines how love, trust and candor facilitate business operations. Having attended the Management Innovation eXchange, aka (MIX) Mashup in June of this year, Cohen reflects on how the new business leadership values have a foundation in trust and transparency. He writes:
John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, often speaks about finding “friendship, love and community” in the workplace, Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, is famous for believing that we “function best when we can be ourselves” and Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL, radically promotes “creating trust…by pushing the envelope of transparency.”
These same values — transparency, trust and open, honest communication — are being called for within healthcare as the foundation for patient-centered care. Without trust on both sides of the doctor-patient relationship, outcomes have become less than optimal–as they have in some areas of the business sector. By inviting patients into the care team to share their knowledge, as well as commit to the treatment plan prescribed as a full partner with complete knowledge of risks, benefits and alternatives has potential to elevate the entire healthcare team’s capabilities, similar to the results Cohen references.
In his article, Cohen also refers to Management 2.0, a concept described by Gary Hamel in the Wall Street Journal blogs that encourages leaders to “retool management systems and processes that govern…”
- How strategies get created
- How opportunities get identified
- How decisions get made
- How resources get allocated
- How activities get coordinated
- How power gets exercised
- How teams get built
- How tasks and talent get matched up
- How performance gets measured
- How rewards get shared
Healthcare 2.0 is in the works, but it has to address more than just the IT piece. The management piece is equally important, and based on much of what is occurring in pockets across the country, we’re already headed in that direction. Aren’t the following healthcare processes and systems also being retooled:
- Changing hospitals into high reliability organizations
- Restructuring the provider-patient relationship to include open, honest discussion and transparency
- Reorganizing business models
- Re-tooling medical education and addressing deficits
- Developing multi-disciplinary care teams
- Better management of resources
- Pay for performance…
This list suddenly looks very familiar.
Change takes time, and real leadership to navigate the fear that creates obstacles en route to success. But change is inevitable as the saying goes…and is well in motion across industries, as the new and/or evolved leaders share below.
Seth Godin speaks of “Tribes” and of leading niches versus building business models that strive to be one size fits all solution.
Eric Topol is calling for the “Creative Destruction of Medicine”
And Atul Gawande asks for “disruptive innovation” in medicine.
All collectively speak to recreating current operating models to address the changing needs of today — in business and in healthcare. Healthcare 2.0 is already well on its way…