Experts Need Checklists, Too! Health Insurers Meet While Supreme Court Decision Looms.
I will be heading to Salt Lake City, UT this week to attend the AHIP Institute 2012. This is my first visit to the annual event that attracts several thousand Health Insurers. This year’s conference provides the opportunity to hear from two of my favorite authors: Malcolm Gladwell and Atul Gawande, MD, MPH. Both are accomplished writers: They have been contributors for the New Yorker and are authors of multiple award-winning books. The authors’ publications feature thoughts on how experts behave and suggest why different methods of encouragement are important to the entire healthcare marketplace. I am a strong believer that programs and processes that focus on continuous improvement–whether personal or institutional–are at the core of solving issues facing all aspects of healthcare. My views and my commitment to continuing medical education have been influenced by these two authors.
I am excited to hear them speak at the conference on the area of expertise during their joint session, Cowboys Versus Pit Crews: How to Build a Sustainable Health Care Delivery System. Our interests dovetail in our understanding of what types of processes motivate people to improve programs and initiatives. In Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success, he explains how the 10,000 hour rule, based on a study by Anders Ericsson, dictates what constitutes being an expert. Also in this work, he articulates the value of keeping things simple so tasks get accomplished.
This is where Gawande and Malcolm are of like mind. Gawande, professor at Harvard Medical School, has looked at ways doctors can improve medical practice. In this most recent book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, he examines how various experts make errors and how checklists can prevent them. For example, he explains how a checklist procedure implemented at Johns Hopkins Hospital prevented an estimated 43 infections and 8 deaths over 27 months.
The theory was later tested in Michigan’s Intensive Care Units resulting in a 66% decrease in infections. The checklist can apply in seemingly the most basic of situations, such as reminding doctors to wash their hands before touching a patient. I’m looking forward to their discussion on contributing to solving healthcare issues in the US. As I sit amongst health insurance executives with a significant Supreme Court decision on recent health care reform looming, it’ll be an exciting place to be.
Managing eLearning is written by the Blog team at Web Courseworks which includes Jon Aleckson, Karissa Schuchardt and Adelaide Blanchard. Ideas and concepts are originated and final copy reviewed by Jon Aleckson.