Leaders, who learn (some via the school of Hard Knocks) how to establish a vision, drum up consensus, listen to the cacophany of feedback, hold true to important principles, compromise when needed, and slowly, slowly drag your organization toward a more perfect future. For me, this includes:
Some back story for my role as CMIO: I began as the “chief complainer” back in 1998 or so… It has been a long journey over the past 20 years. I used to think “informatics” was about designing computer screens and the colors and placement of buttons, and the selection of features. Now, I realize “informatics” is about effective human connections, developing skilled multidisciplinary teams, and nudging colleagues to do their best work in the common interest of the organization. Much more vague, but SO rewarding when it works.
CMIO’s take? This is the core of our job: “We improve physician and team wellness and effectiveness by building extraordinary relationships and innovative tools.”
Recently I gave a talk for the Department of Medicine Innovation and Research seminars at the Anschutz Medical Campus for University of Colorado’s School of Medicine. I spoke about one of my favorite topics, some of which I have discussed in these blog pages: Reducing the EHR burden and improving physician burnout with EHR Sprints.
CMIO’s take: what is YOUR organization doing to address physician burnout? Something similar? Let me know!
Trevor is someone I only know from his hosting the Daily Show on Comedy Central. He is hilarious, insightful and holds up an incisive mirror to America by being from another culture, by being from South Africa. Now he brings us along through his hilarious and also terrible childhood and growth into adulthood.
One memory of his childhood stands out: a childhood friend named Hitler (long story) ends up in a DJ and dance contest. It is important to note that the education of blacks in South Africa about the Holocaust has been limited, at best. Also, blacks are required to have an English name in addition to a name in their native tongue (of which there are apparently dozens). As they’re taught history, “Hitler” and “Mussolini” are names of folks, who, apparently are “strong” and “fearsome” but whose names do not carry any further cultural significance. SO, why NOT name your kid “Hitler?” Trevor and his friend end up as a hip hop DJ and dance act with local color at a celebration in a Jewish community center. The chapter titled: “Go Hitler!” is even more hilarious and mortifying than you can imagine. Can that boy tell a story!
I am grateful for the journey and his inviting us along into his home, his fears, his joys, his schemes, his failures; his successes. It is a roller coaster. It is as if de Tocqueville, who commented on American life as a British outsider in the 1800’s was funnier and lived in the modern era. Finally, the voices that Trevor uses to evoke his grandmother, his mother, his best friends, and all the many languages he spoke in Soith Africa… they are indescribable. Don’t read this book. Listen to Trevor tell it like he’s telling a Daily show story, except it is Real Life and he survived it.
CMIO’s take? Audible names this among the top 100 audio books of all time. I agree.
I had the privilege recently of being invited to a national symposium hosted by Stanford Medicine and Dean Lloyd Minor, sporting numerous EHR clinical experts, informaticists, vendors and other thought leaders. See the resulting white paper (caution, in addition to expert opinions, there are quotes from me):
CMIO’s take? I found it an invigorating, forward thinking symposium with lots of great ideas for where we are and where we are going. Most importantly, we tackled WHY solving the EHR conundrum (so important, but so far from where we need to be) is crucial to the future of healthcare.
I have wanted to read this book for decades. Now, with my emphasis on reading consistently (both via Audible.com and in print, but alas only rarely on my Kindle app or Kindle device that my son discarded), I’m finally making progress on that enormous mountain of backlogged titles.
I love coming home, seeing the stack of tantalizing covers on the coffee table (apologies to my spouse, who is forever trying to keep the house tidy), and picking one up to spend hours lost in the worlds within.
Yes, I loved the recent Blade Runner 2049, yes, I watched the online shorts that led up to it. Yes, I re-watched the original, including the directors cut (and the hilarious back-story to the poorly-performed Harrison Ford voice over in the actual released movie: look it up yourself). And yet.
(side note: Amazon Originals now has a one season series: Electric Dreams, that is a fantastic collection of video interpretations of Dick’s short stories. Don’t miss ‘Autofac.’)
The book blows all the movies away. Philip K. Dick was not only decades ahead of his time, even now, his writing and thinking are too complex, too interweaved, too subtle for the movie screen. Electric sheep, artificial owls, animals figure prominently in the book, and are only briefly referenced in the movie. And the title finally makes sense. I really enjoyed this.
I’ve been fascinated recently (as you may know, reader) with meals, modified fasting, weight management, meditation. I guess I’m turning into one of those hippie, birkenstock-wearing, health-food-pushing, “hey, just use lemon juice for that” doctors from from a too-cool-for-school non-metropolitan back-to-earth backwaters.
I’m always interested in non-traditional ideas that maybe mainstream medicine has not yet embraced. Chrono-biology for instance (perhaps a future blog post). In short, I find that the ways of our healthcare system are perhaps too ego-centric and too shortsighted to encompass the breadth of human experience, and that maybe, just maybe, folks in other cultures have figured out smart, healthful things as well.
In this case, Michael Pollan, who re-popularized the old adage, appears to be right. Not only his original: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” but also “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.”
This NYTimes article refers to a book called The Circadian Code by Satchin Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute. One of the main ideas is to consider eating all your meals within a 6 hour window each day, guaranteeing your body an 18 hour fast, which apparently is a healthy and a cycle that your tissues and organs and body expect. It results in less weight gain, easier weight loss, and lots of other downstream benefits.
CMIO’s take? Look outside your usual sources of inspiration for ideas on living healthier.