Healthcare Is Not Candles, Blowtorches, and Cake

Last night I was attending a birthday party for a relative and they needed to light the candles on the cake. They happened to be out of matches, and before I knew it, there it was, a blowtorch. The host grabbed his blowtorch, ignited it, and lit the 14 candles. The candles were spread out all over the cake, top, sides, and in all directions. Obviously he had to be slightly careful where he began and where he ended in order to get all of the candles lit, and to not burn himself in the process.

I took a short video and uploaded it here. But it made me begin to wonder……

Are the “solutions” and “fixes” for healthcare sometimes like using a blowtorch to light candles on a cake?

If one has to light candles, there are a numerous amount of ways to do it.

1. You could use candles

2. You could use a lighter

3. You could use a stove top

4. You could use a blowtorch

5. You could use the fireplace

6. You could use a bonfire

7. You could use a magnifying glass and the sun

I could keep generating a list, but I think most of us would pick one of the first two options; matches or a lighter.

Which helps to illustrate my point. There are hundreds of thousands of solutions, fixes, and answers. Most of us in healthcare want to jump to the answers before taking the time to define the problem. Why? Maybe it is due to the need to want to “fix” what is broken. Maybe it is the aspect that “solutions” are viewed as the hot, new, sexy thing to do? Maybe it is that we want to be the savior, the one who moves things forward?

My opinion is that perhaps it is simply because there are an abundance of fixes. The difficult task is taking the time to define what is at the heart of the problem. Once you know the problem, how to define success and measure it, then you can do the easy part and pick from one of the many “fixes” and drive to success.

As today kicks off RSNA 2013 in Chicago I will be looking to see what are the various kinds of tools that will be discussed, unveiled, and shared with Radiologists, technologists, and administrators to help them in defining the healthcare problems of their patients. Ultimately, I want to see who remembers the entire system of care, and begins and ends with patients in mind.

Primary care physicians, cardiologists, neuroscience, oncology, orthopedics, and all of the other specialties have a numerous amount of tools to select in helping them answer the problems that their patients present to them on a daily basis. When it comes to seeing inside the body, these specialties need to realize that Radiologists are experts in defining the problems on how to see inside the body, and can help to readily pick the best option to provide the answers they seek.

It’s not necessarily about the techs and specs of the shiny boxes that radiology departments are notorious for possessing. It is the expert wisdom, talent, and passion for seeing inside a patients body that Radiologists possess that need to be shared broadly, need to be shared often, and need to be consulted.

I am hopeful that one of the resounding messages from RSNA-2013 (#RSNA13) will be how Radiologists need to continue to elevate their voices within their healthcare organizations, within the multidisciplinary care teams, and with patients. Radiologists can see inside the body and can help the other members of the care team define the problem needing to be solved, and  selecting the best tool(s) to provide the right answers in a cost effective, high quality, accessible, and patient centric manner.

Radiologists can help the care team to select the correct match or lighter to use instead of selecting a blowtorch to do the job. Healthcare needs more matches and less blowtorches.

Radiologists tell a story with images. Patients need to know and hear your stories. They need to hear them often. Other physicians and specialists need to hear your stories. Your images need a voice. They need Radiologists to speak on their behalf.

Will you provide a voice to those images and tell your story?

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek

~CancerGeek

#PtExp #PX #cancer #hcldr #hccosts #hcsm #stories #storytelling #lcsm #bcsm #RSNA13 #imaging #radiologists #radiology
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