It’s Not About The Box Improving Care at Group Health with People, Process and Technology

November 7, 2010

The Permanente Executive Leadership Summit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matt Handley @ 6:38 am

What happens when you bring together the physician leaders of the highest achieving medical groups in the country?  If you do it right, you get something that adds up to more than the sum of its parts.  You get connections that lead to more than just knowledge transfer of existing innovations – you get connections that help foster the next round of innovations, cross-pollinating between groups and individual leaders.

Tom Miller started off with a story – of a man playing a violin in a metro station in DC.  He collected about $32 in an hour, with just a few people stopping to listen.  And that man was one of the world’s most gifted musicians, playing a Stradivarius.  We see what we expect to see, and our preconceptions drive our versions of reality.

We then did an exercise to consider the future of one organization – Kaiser Permanente.  A “Visioning” exercise, one in which we are considering two very different possible futures for 2016.  One group goes to the happy future, where KP has exceeded anyone’s wildest dreams – the best care, the best place to work – one step shy of what our facilitator’s daughter calls “jumpy unicorn land”  The other possible future is bleak – one in which everything has gone wrong.  Lots of imagined headlines that sum up what might happen, depicting public humiliation  and public celebration

And then the exercise sends you back in time from the success or failure of 2016 as a forensic anthropologist to find the seeds of success or failure that we envisioned for 2016.  Its easy to see the ways in which things could go wrong – resistance to open discussion of the challenges, clinging on to a physician centric culture (vs patient centered), cost cutting in a way that undermines long term success (and the list goes on and on).  On a happier note – the list of the seeds that are now present is considerable – an engaged work force, a recognition of the value of service, industry leading clinical performance and a strengthening of our commitment to keep the patient at the center.

So how do we make sure that 2016 looks more like the optimistic one and not the pessimistic one?  The identified progenitors of success and failure that were identified  are largely under out own control.  The best versions of ourselves leads to the best story for the future.  The next three days will hopefully accelerate the work that we all share in building that future.

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