“Physical tagging!”

I’m completely taken by this concept. A prize, to be determined (by me), to the person who can figure out how we can do something similar in healthcare.

The explanation from Nina Simon:

Haarlem Oost is a branch library in the Netherlands that wanted to encourage visitors to add tags […] to the books they read. […] To do this, the library didn’t create a complicated computer system or send people online. Instead, they installed more book drops and return shelves, labeled with different descriptors like “boring,” “great for kids,” “funny,” etc

And a thought from Robin at Snarkmarket (whence I found this):

Is that great or what? Physical tagging! It feels like the informational equiva­lent of turning a dance floor into a piezo electric power generator.

The Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto has been on my Amazon Wish List for a week. He is, by far, my favorite healthcare author. Steven Levitt’s comment at Freakonomics, however, has rushed this book to my Amazon shopping cart:

Not only is the book loaded with fascinating stories, but it honestly changed the way I think about the world. It is the best book I’ve read in ages.

Wow.

Innovation centers offer patient experience improvement focus

I think there’s a hybrid model to improving the patient’s experience that consists of two basic tenets 1) involving the patient (the focus of this post) and 2) ignoring the patient. Both are important in their own right.

Asking patients for their input improves the experience at an incremental level (most often), their worldview limits what’s possible.  Don Norman explains why in his latest essay, “design research (ed: asking the patient) is great when it comes to improving existing product categories but essentially useless when it comes to new, innovative breakthroughs.”

Mary Tripsas wrote a recent column for The New York Times about 3M’s customers innovation centers, a useful idea to better understand the patient’s needs. The basic idea is to bring together the customer (read: their needs, problems, objectives) and the company’s technology (read: potential products).

Innovation centers are in healthcare now.  There’s Mayo’s SPARC, Kaiser’s Garfield Center, Memorial South Bend’s Innovation Cafe, and the spoken-of but not-yet-seen Allina Center for Healthcare Innovation.  There should be more.

It doesn’t require an elaborate facility or enormous investment.  Heck, just start with the unused patient room in the old facility. Or do it virtually: conduct research and experiments on floors in operation (a controlled environment).

What’s the value proposition?  An innovation center provides focus because it is structured around the patient. From the NYT article:

The terms “customer driven” and “solutions” seem to be in every manager’s lexicon. But as Professor (Ranjay) Gulati notes, “it’s an execution problem.” Companies, he says, “aren’t generally structured to access, absorb or utilize customer insights since they are organized by product, not by customer.”