Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Rethinking the Proportional Response


When we punish others, we think of proportional response. The military counteracts with an attack that result in a level of damage proportional to what we received.

But when we think of solutions to problems, we ought to not automatically size up the solution in proportion to the magnitude of the problem.

Our health care institutions are crumbling alongside the satisfaction level and the health of the patients. The problem impacts all of us and the price tag is immense. Many of the problems are systemic: the doctors must make a diagnosis and run tests to be able to bill the insurance entities, even though consultation might educate the patients better in the long run. Early on, the narrative was set to discuss “who pays?” (and it quickly became who can afford it, which led to who deserves health care) instead of “how do we define health and how can we accomplish that for our community?” But we can’t single handedly with a twitch of our noses make those systemic issues go away. If the solutions have to be as grand as the size of the problems, even if there were a silver bullet, we couldn’t afford one.

At a smaller level, but still with a huge price tag, health industry consulting firms are offering customer engagement solutions to increase customer satisfaction. Many hours of discussions with top level health executives resulting in thick reports, and data they aren’t sure what to do with. Perhaps the consulting firms are motivated by offering a pricier solution to equal the gravity of the situation (and the fact that their clients operate in a multi-billion dollar industry).

But the real solutions are already in the works in front of our own eyes. Despite the broken health care system, there are clinics that are engaging patients for proactive care, able to keep costs relatively low for a better outcome. There are patients who are satisfied with how the care was delivered, within our own community.

It isn’t flashy for politicians or executives to ask for a small pilot program to merely study these bright spots in our communities to analyze what they are doing right and what can be replicated and how the successes can then be accelerated in the way the community can embrace the solution (because it was theirs), empowering them in the process.

It’s the old “think global, act local”. The tag line wasn’t just for saving the environment, it’s just as applicable for saving our communities and the institutions that support them.

Photo: Joshua Tree National Park, California, where Joshua trees thrive in extreme and barren conditions despite all odds, providing shelter to many desert species. 


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This entry was posted on July 4, 2015 by in Management and tagged , , .
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