Teams Are Horizontal


team graphic


It is a term I often hear in the world of healthcare. Whether it is within the hospital, a medical technology company, or in the world of advocacy. Everyone talks about teams.

When you define the word team it simply means a number of persons associated in a joint action.

In the words of my friend and mentor Nick Adkins (@nickreeldx)

“The archaic days of old silos and domains and kingdoms and fiefdoms — those days are over. That’s gone, OK? We all have to work together. It’s a collaborative effort. The days of secrets and not sharing information … it’s gone.” (hear his podcast interview here)

I agree with Nick. I believe in the startup world collaboration reigns supreme.

In the vast majority of healthcare organizations, on both sides of the regulatory fence, many are still working in silos.

What differentiates UPMC, Kaiser, Geisinger, and Catholic Health Initiatives from the rest of the pack is their ability to turn the vertical silo 90 degrees and make it a horizontal.

How do they do it?

The enabler is technology. Technology allows information to be accessible and to flow freely regardless of hierarchy, oligarchy, or any other type of organizational construct.

Bits and bytes flow horizontally, not vertically. (or at least it should in my world)

It is the people that facilitate adoption and empowerment.

Leaders leading by example. The ability for anyone in the organization to derive insights that lead to impacting patients and the business of healthcare. (in a compliant way) Welcoming patients into the mix, accepting their data, listening to the patients own insights, and allowing access to the patients complete medical record.

We need to remember that in healthcare, people, and the patients they become, do not travel in a linear pattern or only in the vertical. People as patients travel horizontally. They go from point A to D to 1 to 3 and back to Z.

People facilitate the process and can make the seams less painful.

The data showing up at the right time, in the right place, to the right team, for the right decision, and the right patient….that removes the seams.

Technology enables, people adopt and empower.

Technology + People = Making the seams seamless in healthcare.

Are you working on a horizontal team?

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

If you want to create some connections, join the tribe at and lets #GSD



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