Friday, January 14, 2011

Days 3 & 4: Excellence in Action

Sorry for the delay, I have been so deeply engaged in class (and doing the homework) that it has been hard to come up with a central idea for a post. Then it occurred to me that the topic is excellence, and how it differs from perfection. We been looking at a variety of organizations that focus on excellence through action and iteration. While this may seem obvious to those of you not in health care, specifically academics, we tend to operate on the precautionary principle... Know every possible risk before taking a step. This obsession with starting perfect is what has hindered so much value. But where does it come from?

School. In order to be a doctor in America, you have to get a lot of test questions correct. It is actually the single biggest requirement for medical school entry: good grades. While most of us hang on to humanity through this mechanical process, we do become quite perfection-centered and risk averse. Not exactly the type of person we would expect to be an innovator. Wiser thinkers than I have opined on how to reform school, but this is a root cause of our slow starts in health care, and one that will pay dividends in ways we cannot imagine.

Back to school!

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