The Minnow Who Thought He was the Ocean

By August 28, 2016December 30th, 2018Advocate, Caregiver, Clinician, Consumer, ePatient, Leader

Have I written about the Quadruple Aim of healthcare?
1. Improving the patient experience of care,
2. Improving the health of populations,
3. Reducing the per capita cost of health care, and
4. Improving the work life of clinicians and staff.
I live to compete in this quadrathlon. While my focus is the first and fourth – experience of patients and work life of clinicians and staff – the finish line is the second – improving the health of populations. I fear that wild success in experience, cost, and work life might not result in improving the health of populations. Improving the health and well-being of neighborhoods, counties, teens, professional athletes, diabetics, etc. may not be the sum of improving the health of each individual in those populations.

In 2007, I worked for St. Peter’s Recovery Center in Guilderland, NY. My boss, Bob Doherty, had the vision, the foresight, and the stones to engage a whole community to improve the care of persons most disabled by substance abuse.  He convened the homeless shelters, religious communities, law enforcement, social services, ambulance companies, emergency rooms, and other community services to take on this intractable puzzle together. Brilliant!

Those of us working in the medical and professional spaces of healthcare think that WE are health. It’s like the minnow thinking he is the ocean. He may be King Minnow, rich and bejeweled, but he’s still just minnow.

I suggest you read The National Quality Forum’s Improving Population Health by Working with Communities: Action Guide 3.0, published this month.  It’s free and inspiring. The abstract:

The Guide for Community Action is a handbook for anyone who wants to improve health across a population, whether locally, in a broader region or state, or even nationally. The Guide’s purpose is to support individuals and groups working together at all levels — local, state and national — to successfully promote and improve population health over time. It contains brief summaries of 10 useful elements important to consider during efforts to work with others, along with actions to take and examples of practical resources, to build a coalition that can improve population health.

I’m going to keep my eyes open for a coalition in my community. In my spare time.

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