Thursday, September 6, 2012

What's the Most Dangerous Thing We Do?

By Pascal Dennis

Take a moment & reflect.

For most folks, I imagine the following come to mind:

  1. Driving my car,

  2. Flying on an airplane,

  3. Going downtown in a major city

For most of us the answer is - wait for it:

Going to the hospital.

A Google search will uncover horror stories. Here are some:

Objective risk analyses confirm our worst fears - hospitals are deadly places.

Mis-medication, infection, falls, wrong-site surgeries and the like are at epidemic levels.

The Health Care crisis is a recurrent theme in this blog, in The Remedy, and in my upcoming book, Reflections of a Business Nomad.

And yet, in a grand paradox, Health Care folks are smart, hard-working and, for the most part, dedicated to helping patients.

How did things get so bad?

Complexity is part of the answer - hospital silos are far deeper and more numerous than ever before.


In 1950, for example, oncology largely comprises palliative care. Today, by contrast, oncology is a deep silo comprising specialties, sub-specialties and sub-sub-specialties.

Our inexperience managing complex systems is a second cause.

Yet a third cause is that everybody else has gotten much, much better, largely because of competition.

GM and Ford, for example, make splendid cars at reasonable prices. Competition from Toyota et al has transformed them.

So Health Care sticks out.

We'll continue to blog, reflect, and work with all the good people stuck in lousy management systems.

I'm hopeful, in fact, because of their skill & dedication.

But I'll be vigilant whenever, I or any of my family, go into a hospital.

You be too.

Best,

Pascal

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