The Truth is Powerful
Healthcare Holdups, Death-By-Pilot, And The Scourge Of Incrementalism
The work of changing healthcare too often feels like navigating out of a jar of molasses. True story : When I was a medical student, many of the patients I saw on rounds each morning had a lot of questions for me. Inevitably, however, they forgot to ask some of them. In the afternoons, I’d often pass a nurse in the hallway who would say something like, “Patient X says she’d like you to come back to her room because she forgot to ask you something.”
Often, when I went back to visit Patient X, she’d say something like, “Oh, yes, I had a question about what you said this morning…But I forgot what it was.”
I totally got it. These patients were in a hospital, often quite ill, and surrounded by strangers and odd machines. Meanwhile, we’d come in every morning and feed them a barrage of unfamiliar medical terms. Of course they had questions! And of course they forgot to ask some of them!
So I got an idea. “Let’s get our patients notebooks,” I said to an attending I had been shadowing. “That way they can write down their questions and never forget to ask them.”
“Good idea,” the attending […]