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"Health Care Needs Two Characteristics: Inquisitiveness and Courage."

Says Molly Joel Coye, M.D., CEO of the Health Technology Center in San Francisco, writing in Hospitals and Health Networks:
"A job description for the leaders capable of carrying (health care) through the next wave of changes would include skills, intellect, understanding of the complexities of health care and fortitude. But above all, we need two characteristics: inquisitiveness and courage.

"Why" is a powerful word. Hospital leaders should relentlessly inquire why we do what we shouldn't, why we don't do what we should, and how we can discover better, cheaper, more satisfactory ways of providing care and running our enterprises.

Inquisitiveness can mean not only why, but also why not. If we know certain changes can save lives and dollars, why do we not undertake them?

The second characteristic we need is what philosophers call "moral courage." It's harder to marshal than bravery under fire. Eddie Rickenbacker pondered why "physical courage is so common in the world, and moral courage so rare." In health care, courage will be needed to press forward with clinical improvements in the face of overwhelmingly complex and perverse financial incentives. Change that is big enough and important enough to matter is disruptive. It threatens long-standing relationships and processes. Hoping for change without being willing to confront disruption is futile—equivalent to wanting "crops without plowing up the ground" or "rain without thunder and lightning."
Here's a calculation to get you started: when confronted with a new idea, how often do you ask "why?" That's the numerator.

Now how often do you ask "What if we...?" Or, "Why not...?" That's the denominator.

A fraction greater than one means you are "difficulties-focused." That's OK. Healthcare needs a few of you.

Less than one, consider yourself "opportunities-focused." Health care needs more of you otherwise the future mimics the past, over and over.

There's a reason I can be found on Twitter as @whatifwhynot.


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