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Trilogy Tidings
November 2010
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in this issue
The Hardest Part: Getting Started
Hospital as Factory
Hospital as Death Trap
Resources from our Archives
What does Trilogy do?

The most difficult part of any project is getting it started. I see this difficulty all the time in our consulting practice, and I offer a prescription for getting over this hurdle.

Healthcare delivery needs help. Whether its awkward and overly costly processes or dangerous opportunities for human error to cause mayhem, healthcare needs fixing. I highlight two kinds of existing problems and invite medical-product suppliers to step up to the plate and contribute solutions.


Regards,
Joe

Change Ahead
The Hardest Part: Getting Started
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Getting StartedYou might remember the following from high school science class: "A body at rest tends to remain at rest; a body in motion tends to remain in motion". This principle pretty much applies to people, too. It seems like the hardest part of taking on a project that you know must get done soon is to start applying your efforts to it.

There are really two issues in play. First, there's that momentum principle you learned in high school. But there's also another retarding force; you don't quite know what to do to get started productively even after you get your motor running. And here's the thing: these two factors reinforce one another, often resulting in paralysis - at least until your deadline looms so large that you panic and start doing just about anything to convince yourself that at least you're doing something.

I'm not a fan of waiting until the last minute to get started, primarily because the quality of one's output often suffers with this approach. So why am I raising this basic characteristic of human behavior? I'm raising it as a matter of self-interest! In my consulting practice I very often see clients and prospective clients really struggle with getting started. It's common for them to agonize over exactly what they want me to do - nailing down every conceivable detail before asking for my plan of attack. At one level this is great because it results in a tightly defined engagement plan. But consider this: The resulting engagement plan just might be wrong, or at least sub-optimal.

I have a better idea. Involve me sooner in the process. Let me help define not only the plan of attack but the objectives and requirements, too. The end result is likely to be better and arrive quicker. And, best of all, it will help you get started.

Obviously, this principle applies to just about any initiative requiring outsider or inter-organizational resources. Involve helpful people early in the process for a better, and often quicker, outcome.

Hospital as Factory
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Hospital as FactoryEveryone knows that the processes by which healthcare is delivered are archaic, wasteful, more costly than necessary, and sometimes needlessly troublesome. Industrial methods can make things better, if we would just apply them. Some hospitals are trying to do just that with some success. Check out this article describing those efforts and their results.

I think suppliers of medical products (equipment and devices, not drugs) deserve a good share of the blame for the status quo. We have the skills and techniques to make things better, but we have chosen the easy road - adapting our stuff to existing processes. We refrain from recommending process changes because it's really hard to change the delivery of care. Clinicians and administrators resist mightily.

But there is opportunity for suppliers who are willing to make the investment required to stimulate change in hospital practices. It could be a long road, and you won't get much public applause, but the economic rewards could be substantial. Try it.
Hospital as Death Trap
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Hospital as Death TrapLast summer a series of patient injuries occurred at Sunrise Children's Hospital in Las Vegas. As reported at that time, it was not clear whether 14 such incidents were accidental or intentional. But the report of these incidents, characterized as "disrupted catheters", stimulated a discussion about the ease with which tubing connections that should be incompatible - like IVs and feeding tubes - can be made. Unfortunately some such connections are possible, allowing human error to result in tragedy.

I don't know the extent of this problem. How many injuries and deaths occur annually as a result of such misconnections? If this is a significant problem, we should eliminate it over time by means of designed incompatibility. It seems to me the ideal resolution mechanism is a series of AAMI standards, or maybe an AdvaMed initiative of some kind. A regulatory mandate is unlikely to be the best choice. This problem is fixable. If the problem is pervasive, let's fix it.

Resources from our Archives
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Check out our Reading Room to view my published articles, presentations and white papers on a variety of topics.
And, you can examine an archive of my prior newsletters (since February 2007).
What does Trilogy do?
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Trilogy Associates facilitates business growth and renewal through commercialization of new products, providing the following services:
  • Opportunity assessment
  • Business planning and enterprise growth strategies
  • New-product conceptualization, commercialization and marketing
  • Market research and competitive assessment
  • Business development and partnering
  • Market and technological due diligence
  • Assessment of the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of novel technologies
  • Design of efficient and effective development strategies for early-stage biomedical products
  • Business and technical writing/publishing

Inquiries to establish whether and how we might support your business initiatives are always welcome. Contact us.

Contact Information
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ContactInfoJoseph J. Kalinowski, Principal
919.533.6285
LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/trilogy
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