Listen to your heart.

Phil Best, this is beautiful:

True innovation requires the adoption of a belief system that sometimes must prevail in the face of other data metrics. Read up on the great inventions and business wins and you will note that at the core of most of them lie belief, dedication, and the passion to succeed. Today’s business leaders are often too afraid to move ideas forward without ironclad data proofs that they will be successful. All too often, they are the losers. Use your head, listen to your heart, and feel what’s in your gut.

Simplicity reigns

If we could just simplify stuff (discharge instructions, number of stent brands to choose from, working with other departments, etc., etc., etc.) in health care the system would greatly improve.

Retailers are trying. From The Wall Street Journal:

For years, supermarkets, drugstores and discount retailers packed their shelves with an ever-expanding array of products in different brands, sizes, colors, flavors, fragrances and prices.

Now, though, they believe less is more.

The article is likly behind the password wall.  So here’s the meat of their argument (though likely quite different than the benefits to health care, the general jist is that simplification improves business):

Now retailers are cleaning up the clutter. They are trying to cater to budget-conscious shoppers who want to simplify shopping trips and stick to familiar products. Retailers have found that eliminating certain products can lift sales and profits, in part by cutting excess inventory and making more room for house brands.

“All that go-go 1990s where we were adding items in and adding items in, and people wanted more, more, more, more choice… just didn’t pay off,” said Catherine Lindner, Walgreen’s divisional vice president for marketing development, at a recent conference. Looking at store shelves, “People say, ‘Whoa, you’re bombarding me. Help me figure out what I need.'”

Ugh, a he-cession? How about a we-correction?

Like this wasn’t coming?

For years, the world has been witnessing a quiet but monumental shift of power from men to women. Today, the Great Recession has turned what was an evolutionary shift into a revolutionary one. The consequence will be not only a mortal blow to the macho men’s club called finance capitalism that got the world into the current economic catastrophe; it will be a collective crisis for millions and millions of working men around the globe.

First, we’re all better for it.  Second adapt.  Don’t cryWork together.  Though far from perfect, health care may even provide a good model for other industries to follow as women make up 70% of medical and health services managers, 75% healthcare practitioner and technical occupations, and 89% of health care support roles (pdf).  The number of female physicians and surgeons is low (31%); however, female medical school matriculants were 48% of the total in 2007-2008 (pdf).

Transparency is so hard.


I look at the transparency issue not as a moral right, but as a business tactic, tool and threat.

1. If you run around acting like the things you do will never be seen in public, you’re going to get busted. Sooner or later, the marketplace is going to see the effects of your actions, and living as if this is certain makes it far more likely that you’ll find a happy ending.

2. Your job as a marketer is to tell a story, which is a lot like putting on a show. If you can use the tools of transparency to tell that story better, do it! But if your audience will enjoy the story more (and your business will be more likely to succeed) if you apply some misdirection and magic, then why not?

1. Why hospitals (+ health care, etc.) (are starting to) make an attempt at transparency.

2. For the time being, transparency at most hospitals does not make the story more compelling, at least not in the “let’s attract more patients” sense.  Also why hospitals (+ health care, etc.) are not more prudently pursuing Number 1.

The internet, again, changes everything; the coming health care battle

Up to now, the debates/ideas/plans for health care reform have been mostly cordial.  There’s been some give and take, even chatter about compromise and bi-partisan support.

But, and this is a big but, if the debate is fortunate enough to move closer to an actual vote, the battle for support (read: Congressional votes) between the traditional “big guys” (pharma, AMA, insurance companies) and the now internet/community empowered little guys (individuals, activists, smaller special interest groups) will be excitingly interesting on the premise that the internet changes everything.  We’ve all learned that financial resources mean very little on the internet.  The virility of a production is most important.

From Boing Boing contributor Adam:

Online petitions are a dime a dozen these days — it takes something special for the citizens to break through and get the attention of politicians. The folks at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (founded by Reddit co-inventor Aaron Swartz and former folks) may have found it. Today, they unveiled featuring a new TV ad that you can sign — which will then be aired in Washington DC on MSNBC, CNN, and the Daily Show. It contrasts the 76% of Americans who support President Obama’s proposed public health insurance option with the insurance interests who oppose it and have given Democratic senators $80 million. It asks those senators to pick a side. You can sign your name as a member of the 76%, and names will be continually rotated into the actual ad aired on TV. Pretty innovative. Check it out.

Will such efforts be enough to overcome Harry-and-Louise-like campaigns (or the requisite advances thereof)?  Could be an intriguing health care reform side story.

Ahhh, competition?

The Health Care Fed idea was one of the best in the now waste of $10 Daschle book (Amazon tags it a BARGAIN PRICE, go figure; any lawyers want to start a class action filing to get our money back?).

Anyway, aren’t the “Me-too” drugs and devices critical to competition?

What we need is a “health-care Fed”: A panel of independent experts, consumers and ethicists who would make these tough decisions based on scientific evidence about what works, and what doesn’t.

Technologies that are real advances would go on the “A list” and be covered in full. “Me-too” drugs or devices with modest benefit for patients would only get partial coverage. And forget about treatments with unsubstantiated efficacy.

Making them more expensive (to the paying party) than the first movers defeats the purpose of competition.

Communication matters, a lot

It is a striking realization the number of health care’s problems related to communication, or the blatant lack there of.  Most recent example from Press Ganey (pdf) (oft-inflated, high 5s!, another argument for another day) patient satisfaction data:

…patients’ top priorities are how well they were kept informed about delays, how well the staff cared about them as people and how well their pain was controlled. It also mattered if the waiting room was comfortable.

Patient experience matters more every day.