The Premonition – Michael Lewis: not the pandemic story you think it is.

from Amazon.com

When my book club decided to read “The Premonition” and I found out it was about the pandemic, I discovered that I was TIRED OF READING ABOUT THE PANDEMIC.

But, I underestimated Michael Lewis’s skill as a storyteller. I guarantee that you have not heard these stories. Not about Dr. Charity Dean, Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Officer. Not about the Wolverines, a shadow organization comprised of current and former federal government employees connecting resources and brainstorming ideas. Not about the fundamental structural problems and failures with the CDC since 1976.

I was entranced and raced through this book. It was complementary to the things I thought knew about the pandemic, having just lived through it.

The CDC does not come out smelling like roses. Neither do most federal agencies with political appointments. And Lewis dives into it incisively, following these personal tales where they lead.

He ends with a hopeful note, that Dr. Dean has left public service to found a private sector company called “The Public Health Company.” Maybe if the feds, our public health infrastructure, and the CDC cannot act effectively, those who DID act effectively in 2020 can become a consulting firm to private industry (there is immediate demand among large international companies for such services, advice and protection) and eventually support the federal government if we do not fix our pandemic responsiveness, when the next pandemic (and yes, it is coming) arrives.

CMIO’s take? I have new respect for public health officers. I have new respect for the CDC prior to 1976 and hope that this book points us to lessons on how to re-invigorate our federal institutions, and make them effective again. This is very readable, and worth your read.

The most effective way to approach the vaccine-hesitant

From Haymarket marketing communications website MM+M

https://www.mmm-online.com/home/podcasts/the-mmm-podcast-6-24-21-zss-jacob-braude

This is a 28 minute podcast. The crucial moment (for me) is about 12:30.

Of the all the psychologies and tactics to address various subpopulations of the vaccine hesitate (for pediatrics, for adults, for COVID in particular), ONE tactic was most effective across all these subpopulations, use of “confirmation bias” as a tactic.

If you’re in a conversation about the vaccine, leave aside all the data and arguments.

Often we see people trying to persuade by saying ‘OK, here are the facts. Here’s why you should get vaccinated,’ ” Braude said. “But this research says actually what you should ask is ‘OK, why would someone want to get vaccinated?’ and have them go through the process in their own words. That works much better than the persuasion techniques we see people trying to use.

It turns out that 20-44% of people who answered this question, who were asked to TAKE THE EMPATHIC STEP of putting themselves in the shoes of someone wanting to be vaccinated, and then having to describe the reasons why, ended up changing their mind and agreeing to get vaccinated.

Huh. I think I have never done that. Time to learn and use something new.

CMIO’s take? There are so many interesting facets of the human mind. Even amongst physicians and healthcare workers, we have a lot to learn about how humans think, and how we make decisions. We need to harness this for the public good. Who is with me?

Intersection of Robotics and K-pop

from hyundai.com via wired.com

https://www.wired.com/story/boston-dynamics-bts-spots-on-it/

I love when robotic engineering cross-fertilizes with art and dance, as in this mash-up.

I’ve mentioned before that my son has his own youtube channel, as, during the pandemic he and his sister got into K-pop, learned some dances from BTS and others, and now Mom and Dad are also nascent K-pop (and K-drama!) fans. Heck, even PBS has gotten into explaining the nuances of K-pop (9 min Youtube).

On the other hand, I’m always interested in taking science and engineering ideas and making them more accessible, more beautiful, more elegant.

Here’s Boston Dynamics’ Robot(s) SPOT dancing to IONIQ from BTS. Enjoy.

Cognitive load with the EHR and burnout:

why aren’t we measuring this more?

Dr. Elizabeth Harry, image from twitter

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1553725020302464

Thank goodness for smart colleagues. Dr. Elizabeth Harry is first author on an important work that ties physician/provider task load to burnout. See link above. 

Using the NASA task load index, and the Maslach burnout inventory, she was able to demonstrate a substantial correlation with an increased task load (mental, physical, and temporal demands, and perception of effort) and burnout.

Far from pointing the finger at EHR’s alone, task load generalizes across many industries, with electronic tools such as the EHR being a major negative or positive influence.

I can see a fruitful future line of investigation and collaboration with this measurement tool.

CMIO’s take? How are YOU measuring and tackling provider burnout?