Revolving around the patient

1 Feb

Over the last 5-10 years, I have delivered and coached teams using Agile practices.  One of the tenets, that Steve Denning touches on in his More On Why Managers Hate Agile article, is “The customer is the center of the universe, and the firm revolves around the customer.”  This is a powerful statement that businesses have been digesting more and more with the advent of mobile devices and Internet of Things (IOT).  This thinking is really an about face in terms of how most businesses used to be run.

So, I wonder how does such thinking apply to places like life sciences, cancer hospitals and urgent care.  They all have different objectives, but I feel the customer for all of them is the patient.  Sometimes, the patient has a name.  Sometimes, the patient is void of personal identifiable information.  Nevertheless, I like to think practitioners view the patient as a person.  Some are driven into this practice because of a childhood event, like their mother’s battle with cancer, or circumstances that they were privy to, maybe a car accident or a sister/ brother’s birth.

Most of these entities are businesses, as opposed to public institutions owned by the city/ county.  Like other businesses, they track profit and loss.  They issue an annual report and have targets/ goals for future years.  But what makes their leadership different than say a bank or an insurance company?  My guess is most of the department heads and company leaders were once doctors or medical research scientists.  So, they still have that core reason that drove them into this field.

I would like to think there is a little Jiminy Cricket helping to steer medical and life science management decisions around the patient.  While I do think most people who get into medicine are altruistic, I think there is another driver.  I think many of these practitioners are curious and like to solve problems.  You could call them human engineers.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a lot of change and innovation in terms of medical sciences.  We’ve gone from film based scanning to digital.  We’ve gone from paper based medical records to electronic medical records (EMR).  We’re also seeing treatments being developed and tested based on specific genetic mutations and that cross divides which were once thought impenetrable.  All of these revolves around helping patients survive, live longer and heal, so they can return to living life.

Boy are we lucky to have such talented human engineering in today’s day and age.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with tomorrow.