Trust through communication

We’ve a long way to go, but the dominos will fall.  Saul Kaplan (emphasis added):

Communication is personal and everyone has a role to play.  The world of personal and organizational communication is merging whether we want it to or not.  I have talked to many active participants on social media platforms that are constrained or even blocked from communicating while at work or about work after hours.  This is silly.  Organizations are missing an amazing opportunity to virally share their stories and to tap into the networks of all the organization’s stakeholders.  Organizations need to trust employees, contractors, suppliers, and customers to build and strengthen networks of supporters and fans that are the most important marketing asset today.

Staying in business and making bad products

Jonathan Bush (the quoted) and Joseph Rago (the quoter) combine for this beauty (via Tyler Cowen):

Take the nearly $47 billion in stimulus cash the White House has budgeted to prime the pump for health IT adoption. Mr. Bush says he’s glad his industry is getting more attention from the bully pulpit, but that “It is kind of too bad that all these software companies that we’re really close to putting out of business, these terrible legacy companies, with code that was written in the ‘70s, are going to get life support. That’s why I call it the Sunny von Bülow bill. What it is, basically, is a federally sponsored sale on old-fashioned software.”

“It’s designed like a box-buying campaign,” he continues. “You get this fixed chunk of money for a few years, you get to pay off your EMR, like its a thing. People in Washington think in terms of things that we’ll buy and then they’ll be there. Buildings. Roads. Tanks. What Lockheed Martin makes. Things.

"And this isn’t that. This is a market: its a set of agreements, it’s a language. What’s needed is a way of exchanging value and making choices, that’s ethical—and, you know, nobody, nobody, not nobody, has said a word about that.

The similarities will save us: farming and practicing medicine

I’m completely fascinated by Atul Gawande’s most recent healthcare writing in The New Yorker.  Nearly everyone has an opinion on what’s going to make healthcare better (nearly everyone has their own definition for that, too), but no one truly knows what is going to fix anything, it’s just a whole lot of speculation at this point.  There’s a lot of (informed) guessing involved.

So what to do with healthcare problems that are so numerous and diverse?  Throw the book at them.  No one single approach.  Try a bunch of stuff, change on the fly as results roll in, and spread solutions far and wide once effectiveness is proved.

That’s what the Senate bill is trying to do, writes Gawande.  He compares the effort to agriculture’s government-run extension program (a program that is responsible–to a large degree–for reducing the share of the average American household’s percentage of income spent on food from 40 percent to today’s 8 percent as well as spreading sustainable agricultural practices that reduced cost and improved efficiency).  It’s really neat; and being a proud-of-where-you-came-from Midwestern guy that has a little bit of knowledge about programs like this, I am completely onboard with the idea.

The admission that healthcare is a locally flavored (and distributed good) and will remain that way for some time to come is an important reality, too.  It requires local implementations of well-researched solutions.  Here’s a bit from the piece:

Getting our medical communities, town by town, to improve care and control costs isn’t a task that we’ve asked government to take on before. But we have no choice. At this point, we can’t afford any illusions: the system won’t fix itself, and there’s no piece of legislation that will have all the answers, either. The task will require dedicated and talented people in government agencies and in communities who recognize that the country’s future depends on their sidestepping the ideological battles, encouraging local change, and following the results. But if we’re willing to accept an arduous, messy, and continuous process we can come to grips with a problem even of this immensity.

Going Mobile

Hope your Thanksgiving holiday break offered you just that. I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing web-related, something I’ve noticed that is needed every now and again.

Getting back to things, PSFK notes:

… mobile phone giant Vodafone is launching a Mobile Health Care Unit which will work with pharmaceutical companies and government organizations to develop health care services that use mobile phone technology. The new Unit will partner with health care professionals to generate insights into the needs of health care professionals and their patients.

I continue to be amazed at the number of physicians I see using iPhones, though I probably shouldn’t be.  It’s neat to think about a mobile healthcare world and there have been lots of good people doing good work in this area.  But it’s neat to see big companies getting into the game, too.  For better or worse, big names have more cachet in board rooms.  It hopefully will bring more attention to the power of mobile to the big health care outfits.  Though Vodafone seems interested in providing services to “people in under-resourced, geographically dispersed communities,” I’m unsure we can look at many front-line healthcare providers as being “over-resourced."  Or, if so, they may be the wrong resources.