24. Benchmark to Perfection

In my eyes, part of the problem with the lack of progress in health care is due to the fact that health care organizations delay implementation of innovative ideas until some other organization does it first.  It just makes it easier, the argument may go.

Message to the world: the World Health Organization has endorsed the idea of using checklists to reduce patient harm.

It goes beyond waiting, however.  Often (or always) we benchmark our data (quality, patient satisfaction, outcomes, etc.) to similar organizations.  That’s fine.  But it doesn’t go far enough.  And our worries about our peer group distracts our focus on becoming the best we can be.  It distracts our attention from focusing on what matters most: the patient!

Tom Peters says: “Don’t let the “enemy” rule your life.”

He also uses this quote by Howard Mann to help prove the point:

Obsessing about your competitors, trying to match or best their offerings, spending time each day wanting to know what they are doing, and/or measuring your company against them—these activities have no great or winning outcome. Instead you are simply prohibiting your company from finding its own way to be truly meaningful to its clients, staff and prospects. You block your company from finding its own identity and engaging with the people who pay the bills. … Your competitors have never paid your bills and they never will.

I understand our obsession to compare.  No, wait, I really don’t.  Be better!  Period.  Strive to be THE BEST. Benchmark to the only competition that matters: Perfection! Seriously, move the entire industry forward.  Because if you benchmark to perfection, the peer group will benchmark to you.  And, pulling this all together, if they benchmark to you, they will be benchmarking to perfection, too!

Don’t be afraid to try something…different.

Look what Aetna is doing: creating a lottery where patients can win cold hard cash if they adhere to treatment plans.

Or at least foster a discussion starting with a question like “Chronic care: Do we need an entirely new model of delivery?

Answer: resounding Y-E-S!

It’s a simple decision really.  Choose to be different.  Choose to be the best.  The implementation is the difficult part.  But don’t back down from difficulty.  Get the people in place to make it happen.  It really is possible…

Principle #24: our own system will benchmark to perfection.  It’s the only measure that matters.  Try new things.  If they don’t work, well try something else.  And if that doesn’t work, we’ll try something else.  And we won’t stop until it’s the best alternative.  Then we’ll keep on trying, because it won’t be best for long.  It really is possible, and we’re going to work our tails off to make it happen.  Benchmark…to…perfection.

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