Review of The Innovator’s Prescription, by Clayton M. Christensen

So, at long last, I’ve finished The Innovator’s Prescription by Clayton Christensen. This was a bit of a slog, but worth it. In every section, Christensen delivers solid ideas and compelling frameworks to understand and address some of the main problems facing health care in the U.S. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to dig in more deeply to this issue.

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Morality versus the marketplace

This post may be jumping the gun a little, because I haven’t finished The Innovator’s Prescription yet, but I found myself drawing some interesting contrasts already between Christensen’s work and T.R. Reid’s (see my review of The Healing of America for a fuller consideration of his ideas).

The most striking contrast to me so far has been the different grounds from which each writer believes health care reform will emerge.

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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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