Review: Stargirl

Stargirl
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My teenaged daughter handed this book to me with a smile, stating that I might enjoy it. She’s almost always right. For some reason I do enjoy YA fiction. Is it the yearning? The optimism? The world view that “anything is possible, but its just so HARD for me right now?”

Nevertheless, this was a fun, quick read. Not perhaps in the same category as “The Fault in our Stars” but a solid rollercoaster of a read. Stargirl is a fanciful embodiment of Richard Feynman’s “What do you care what other people think?” Playing ukulele, dressing up, oblivious to the stares of others, Stargirl is both attractive and repulsive to the high-school mindset. Interesting to read it as an adult, with perspective. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

My favorite quote of the book:
“Like so many of Archie’s words, they seemed not to enter through my ears but to settle on my skin, there to burrow like tiny eggs awaiting the rain of my maturity, when they would hatch and I at last would understand.”

CMIO’s take? The pressure of conformity, of habit, is comforting, lulling, deadening. Sometimes it takes an extrovert or an unexpected event to shake us out of our doldrums and open our eyes again.

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Review: The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, is it realistic to clear 4 hours of your work day EVERY DAY to work on your ONE THING? Yes, I agree, not going to happen, even if Gary Keller tells you to. However, it is inspiring to read about new ways of working, new ways of structuring the day, the week, the month, to think about focus. Given the 17 priorities I’m working on now, and my many colleagues with highly variant concerns and demands, I completely understand where this book comes from and its audacious goal.

I also know, from my recent work on APSO notes (inverting the SOAP progress note written by doctors, to place the Assessment and Plan at the top of the note, for easier reading and understanding by all), and making this change (highly resisted, because IT’S DIFFERENT AND UNFAMILIAR) throughout the 3000 doctors at our hospital system, that this was my primary focus for years, until it was achieved as a universal standard. Focus does have its benefits. When I look back on my career, it is NOT the hundreds of smaller projects, or the hundreds of thousands of emails I crafted or responded to, it is not the ‘crucial conversations’ I had with individual docs and patients that maybe moved their beliefs and attitudes very slightly. Instead, I look back at BIG projects that were HARD, and where we accomplished something as a team, as an organization.

CMIO’s take: In hindsight, it was the unintentional “One Thing” attitude that put these projects over the top. Perhaps I could learn from my past, of the projects never reaching fruition, and the few that did, and allow the “One Thing” more of an influence in what I do. Highly recommended as a book.

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Review: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fun read. If you’re human, you are creative. This book gives you permission to open your arms, in big scribbled words, to something new, and not let your frontal cortex shut it down as “stupid, anyway.”

Austin unlocks the fun hidden deeply in your teenaged soul, suppressed by years of schooling and working. If you have 10 dollars and a free hour, read this book. Such an easy way to get a new perspective on creativity, enjoyment, and life. As a CMIO, my take is: many folks at my work desperately need to read this book.

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Galileo! Galileo! And enjoy the holiday season, y’all

 It seems to me that we all have less time, too many emails and too much to do. Sometimes we need to look at opportunities to slow down and sit and listen. 

Today, our UCHealth leadership brought in the Denver School of Performing Arts orchestra, right into our hospital auditorium, and I caught a bit of their performance of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Fun, amazing, and brought a smile to my face. Here’s 30 seconds. Hope you all have a happy and enjoyable holiday season. 

Doc Prudence (a ukulele parody) about Open Notes

I’m here at CHIME16, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, at the fall CIO forum, speaking about Open Notes. I’m honored to be invited to speak, and even more honored to be selected as an Encore by the audience, who choose their favorite presentations for an ‘encore’ presentation on the last day of the conference. And at the end of my talk, a ‘bonus’ presentation on ukulele of “Dear Prudence” by the Beatles, repurposed to illustrate the benefits of Open Notes and the principle of information transparency in healthcare.

It has been great to be here in Phoenix learning from and sharing ideas with healthcare’s pre-eminent CIO’s.

Congratulations to UCHealth’s CIO, Steve Hess, who wins CHIME16 collaboration award


At this year’s CHIME16, the annual national meeting of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, Steve Hess, our CIO accepted the prestigious CHIME collaboration award. CHIME is the largest organization of healthcare CIO’s, over 900 at present count. What a great recognition from Steve’s peers to be recognized in this way. 

Steve’s work with LeanTaas is groundbreaking in that we now apply machine learning tools to improve scheduling of our infusion center chairs for chemotherapy. Our hospital’s substantial growth has outpaced the capacity of our infusion center. This had resulted in patient dissatisfaction, as well as lots of nurse overtime. Steve worked with Sanjay from LeanTaas to co-develop a scheduling tool that would, with minimal adjustments, dramatically improve throughput using predictive modeling. Peak waiting times dropped by 33%, with no increase in nurse staffing or increase in facility space. Very cool. In particular, the tool can tell the nurses what to expect about their upcoming day, not just scheduled patients, but also anticipated overbooks, and can guide ‘where and when’ to place last minute add-ons to keep things flowing. Really great predictive tool. Now, our opportunity is to use this in our OR, our ED, and throughout our enterprise. This is our first big step into predictive analytics, with clever and effective feedback loops to drive change of behavior. 

Congrats to Steve. We’re on a great path, thanks to your leadership.