On Thursday I had the great privilege of being a keynote at the Health Forum/AHA conference in my beloved San Francisco—putting "feet on the ground" there always sends my spirits soaring. While the health bill, or the likelihood of something, was on every mind, my job was to talk about leadership, regardless of the shape of any legislation. In fact I obsessed on the idea of "your choice"—the idea that incredible amounts of progress were possible in any case. Proof more or less positive is the variance that exists in the system we have today, in spite of existing ass-backwards incentives that reward "piece work" (pay-per-procedure) rather than outcomes and quality-safety. Organizations like Geisinger in Danville PA, Mayo in Rochester MN, Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Hanover NH, and Griffin in Derby CT do wonders already in terms of quality, safety, minimization of unnecessary tests and procedures, and putting the patient and patient's family first.
My main thrust was "controlling what you can control" and creating an "experimentation machine"-"innovation machine" (and a "culture" that supports it) devoted to "letting 1,000 flowers bloom" as the way forward in creating and designing systems that promote 100% employee involvement, patient-patient family engagement, safety, quality, elimination of variation in outcome, and the like. I avoided my usual hectoring (the nature of the likes of quality-safety is now more or less accepted), and urged "getting on with it" ASAP.
I have rarely felt so engaged and have rarely so enjoyed myself—as to impact, the proof will be in the doing. (Glenn Steele, CEO of Geisinger, was immeasurably helpful—he joins my "hero entrepreneurs" shortlist, next to the likes of Teach For America's Wendy Kopp!)
Attached you'll find my PowerPoint presentation; it's less helpful than usual, since so much of the tone was beyond the slides.