Review of The Healing of America by T.R. Reid

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T. R. Reid chronicles his encounter with a range of health care systems across the globe in order to gain perspective on the health care challenges the U.S. faces. As he says in the introduction:

Contrary to conventional American wisdom, most developed countries manage health care without resorting to “socialized medicine.” How do they do it? That’s what this book is about. I set out on a global tour of doctor’s offices and hospitals and health ministries to see how the other industrialized democracies organize health care systems that are universal, affordable, and effective. (p. 3)

His journey takes him through major chapters on France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Canada, Taiwan, India, and Switzerland, with discussions of lots of other systems sprinkled in and around these main players.

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Somebody’s gonna get the shaft

I just finished T. R. Reid’s excellent book on health care systems around the world, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care (review to come shortly). And while there were a lot of things that struck me as important in it for understanding the health care challenges we face today, there were two key lessons I found applicable to leadership in general.

One was the idea of issues that fall through the cracks and so go unaddressed, which I wrote about last week. The second, which I’d like to address here, is the idea that some problems can’t be solved in a way that benefits everyone equally–and in fact may require a solution that is bad for one or more groups of stakeholders. It seems to me that a successful leader needs to be able to step up in these kinds of situations and find a way to motivate people to do what needs to be done even when some of them will be on the losing end of the bargain.

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Falling through the cracks

I’m only about half-way through The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, by T. R. Reid, so not ready to review the book yet, other than to say that it’s been an eye-opening read.

But as I made my way through Reid’s accounts of health care systems around the world, it got me thinking about how often the biggest problems leaders face are those that fall between the cracks…and healthcare is just such an issue.

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Speaking of Leadership – David DeLuna (part 2)

David DeLuna has 25 years of full business and technology solution implementation experience. In his current role as director of account management at ProspX, he and his team serve as the primary point-of-contact for all customers and leads day-to-day account management and customer satisfaction. Prior to joining ProspX, David managed high visibility, highly complex strategic projects for Doculabs, a leader in strategic consulting and market research. Prior to that, David served as CIO at Allied Worldwide, a $2+ Billion leading global relocation, moving services and logistics company. In this capacity, he managed a $14 million budget and 90 professionals and was responsible for implementing a claims management system that saved the company $1 million annually. David has held management level positions at leading organizations such as BSG, Trident, PerSe Technologies and Moveline. David is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications.

I sat down with David recently to talk with him about his time as CIO at Allied Van Lines, technology, and leadership. Part one of this interview was posted here.

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Coming clean about health care reform

The nation needs a new way of thinking about the health care system. There is no one villain here. Neither the problem nor the solution will be found in any single aspect of the system or in any single actor. Indeed, the whole approach of attempting to redress competing interests is doomed from the start. The only real solution is to unite all participants in the system in a common purpose.

From Redefining Health Care, Porter and Teisberg, pp. 2-3

This blog is a place to think about the challenges facing all kinds of leaders: corporate, government, nonprofit, education, and personal. And over the last 24 months, I’ve had many clients and projects in the health care space, where leaders of all stripes are facing historical challenges that have implications for individuals, organizations, and U.S. society as a whole.

Although I’ve enjoyed my work with these health care organizations tremendously, lately I’ve found myself feeling sheepish and guilty that I’ve all but withdrawn from following the raging debates in the U.S. over the future of health care. Honestly, the complexity of the debate combined with the vitriol and narrow-mindedness exhibited on all sides has really discouraged me from even trying. I’m not the kind of person who’s going to write his Senator or picket outside a government building, so what’s the use of getting wound up over an issue that will be decided in places far, far removed from my world of family, friends, and work?

But despite all that (and no matter how well I understand the business operations of payers and providers on a day-to-day level), there’s a nagging voice inside me that wonders whether I can really be a trusted advisor to my health care clients over the long haul if I don’t understand (or at least keep up with) the contours of the debate.

The answer, of course, is that I can’t, and so I’ve decided to dive into the best books I can find on the issue of health care in the U.S. and kick off a series of posts that explore the issue. I plan to use these books as inspiration for my posts, but will welcome the participation of anyone who wants to contribute their thoughts to the series by writing something as well–just ask. And of course, as always, I’m excited to have folks share their thoughts and reactions to the posts and get a good conversation going around this critical issue.

Putting one foot in front of the other (part 6)

In a previous post, I suggested some of the fundamental, structural changes I think IT will have to undergo in the next 10-15 years. And to me, these changes are not optional: organizations will have to make them; the only question is who will risk the difficulties and step up to lead them (and reap the substantial rewards)?

With that done, I’ve come back to Earth a bit to kick off a series of more modest posts that look at some of the baby steps IT needs to take to evolve into a truly strategic capability.

To me, once an IT leader adopts the correct orientation of her department as a strategic asset primarily focused on delivering business value (rather than IT capabilities), she has  a number of very tactical areas to address:

  1. Demand pipeline
  2. Structured requirements
  3. Developer-heavy staffing
  4. Agile methods/approaches
  5. Service catalog
  6. Portfolio management (including rationalization)

In this post, we’ll take a look at the last, portfolio management.

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Speaking of Leadership – David DeLuna

David DeLuna has 25 years of full business and technology solution implementation experience. In his current role as director of account management at ProspX, he and his team serve as the primary point-of-contact for all customers and leads day-to-day account management and customer satisfaction. Prior to joining ProspX, David managed high visibility, highly complex strategic projects for Doculabs, a leader in strategic consulting and market research. Prior to that, David served as CIO at Allied Worldwide, a $2+ Billion leading global relocation, moving services and logistics company. In this capacity, he managed a $14 million budget and 90 professionals and was responsible for implementing a claims management system that saved the company $1 million annually. David has held management level positions at leading organizations such as BSG, Trident, PerSe Technologies and Moveline. David is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications.

I sat down with David recently to talk with him about his time as CIO at Allied Van Lines, technology, and leadership.

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