Healthcare IT

Escape fires

There is a huge amount of sense in the paper ‘Escape Fire: Lessons for the Future of Health Care’ by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Dr Don Berwick. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend downloading the whole paper here or watch the (slightly more dramatic) movie trailer. One quote stands out and encapsulates so much of what we think is important when delivering health care IT – engage and design for all stakeholders:

“Health care’s disintegration is not yet every man for himself, but it is every discipline for itself, every guild for itself. As a result, we tend to assume today that one guild’s solution cannot be another’s. We assume that either we will pre- serve quality or cut costs; that patients will get what they ask for or that science will prevail; that managers will run the show or that doctors will be in control; that the bottom line is financial or moral.
This won’t work. No comprehensive solution is possible if it fails to make sense to any of the key stake- holders. At least four parts of our crew need to share in the solution—a common answer—or the crew will fall apart.

Whatever escape fire we create has to make sense in the world of science and professionalism, in the world of the patient and family, in the world of the business and finance of health care, and in the world of the good, kind people who do the work of caring. I think the toughest part of this may be in terms of the business and financing of care. There is a tendency to assume that financial success—e.g., thriving organisations—and great care are mutually exclusive. However, we will not make progress unless and until these goals become aligned with each other.”