2017 will present a number of challenges in healthcare, we may deal with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), layoffs due to a downturn in the economy, or grapple with the public health crises of an opioid epidemic or gun violence. With a new presidential administration, our abilities to quickly adapt to change professionally and personally will determine a number of healthcare outcomes. We will have to continue to put the patient experience first, work towards an integrated healthcare system, and a robust interoperable IT infrastructure (and much more). The healthcare transformation will continue; and because this profession can be a very personal one, whether administrative or clinical, we have to remember to put the patient first and work together through these new challenges.
So, when it comes to professional and personal growth, I am obsessed with two things: organizational culture transformation and defining your own mission, vision and values. Transformation can happen in a number of ways but I am drawn to these two concepts because I love inspiring stories of people overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles. Plus, working at an AMC (academic medical center) connected to a general and children's hospital, I am reminded that babies are surviving open heart surgeries, HIV is no longer a death sentence, children are surviving the most aggressive cancers, and 3D printing is changing the price point and possibilities from 3D printed skin to bionic ears (I could go on for a long time). This so inspiring and hopeful.
Because I am inspired and continually working to enhance my knowledge of the world (and I have a really long commute in NYC) I turn to books to explore stories from around the world and find ways in which I can approach problems differently. The 3 books below have significantly contributed to my understanding and approach to looking at healthcare, policy and personal growth. Enjoy!
As an update to this post, I've included 2016 book lists from a few of my favorite websites. These lists are very diverse. The books cover a range of topics: refugee crises, strategy, race, culture, entertainment, American policy, the new administration, etc. Zadie Smith's, "Swing Time" and Colson Whitehead's, "The Underground Railroad" both made a couple lists. The Washington Post's list contains several categories from thriller, poetry, children's and science fiction.
Goldman Sachs: 2016 Back-To-School Reading List
Los Angeles Times: 10 Most Important Books of 2016
The Washington Post: The 10 Best Books of 2016
The New Yorker: The Books We Loved In 2016
The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline, Jonathan Tepperman
This book is one of my favorites. I stumbled upon this book on the first floor of my local Barnes & Noble in Brooklyn, NY. Given my feelings about the uncertainty in 2017, I was drawn to the title because the book discusses how several nations and their leaders were able to truly innovate, drive ideas and thrive when all odds were against them. The Rwandan peace process, Singapore's transformation to a nearly corruption free nation, Bolsa Familia, a cash welfare program in Brazil and the shale revolution in the US are just some of the chapters in this amazing book.
Chapter 9, Give to Get, describes how the political parties and president of Mexico worked together for the greater good of the country. Mexico was able to pass the Pacto por Mexico: a collaborative and progressive 95 item reform agenda that aimed to tackle the country's most political, social and economic problems. Given the impossible gridlock we've seen in the US political system, this type of legislation seems unimaginable, but the Mexican government acted together in the interest of its citizens and the profound impact of this agenda will be realized for years to come.
Transforming Health Care, Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pursuit of the Perfect Patience Experience, Charles Kenney
I was introduced to this book as part of my Columbia grad school curriculum on hospital management. I loved the real deal narrative of what it takes to transform a hospital's culture and the patient experience, that starting from the inside and not depending on outside entities can leverage the biggest impact. It is also an account of cross-cultural and cross-industry learning. US healthcare system from Seattle, Washington meets a Japanese Toyota production facility in Toyota City, Japan.
This is essential reading for all healthcare managers and even those in other industries trying to transform their own industries.
How Will You Measure Your Life, Clayton M. Christensen, James, Allworth, and Karen Dillon
A good friend who knows me well recommended this book, so I could further contemplate my purpose, mission & vision (he knows I love this stuff). For me, the main takeaway from this book: understand your job in relationships. In many industries we focus too much on what we want to sell to our customers but not what they actually need - what job is our product or service fulfilling? I especially enjoyed the last chapter called, Staying Out of Jail. The moral dilemmas we may find ourselves in during life may be small and less apparent or very obvious and blatant. In our life, what do we need to do to live with integrity?
Interestingly, this book is connected to HBR's On Managing Yourself. I have a copy of this book as well. If you purchase the HBR book on the iTunes store, you'll get a copy of the bonus article How Will You Measure Your Life? also by Christensen.