Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jammin' for Health

There is a palpable need for innovation in health care right now.  We know the traditional, reactive, fee-for-service doctor-centered model that we want to leave behind, and we can imagine the integrated, team-based, patient-centered vision for the future, but it still seems like we need more innovative and concrete ideas for how to get from here to there.  Coming up with these ideas requires insight and creativity, but is innovation just a switch you can turn on?  A group of our students and faculty recently decided that you could practice innovation, and do it better.  Believe it or not, one place to start is jazz music.

Years and years before I came to medicine, I practiced innovation.  I've played the trumpet since I was eight years old, and when I was in high school, I learned to play jazz.  I remember the first time I was asked to improvise a solo with my jazz combo I was terrified.  Some of my band mates were older and I respected them.  I was afraid I didn't have the "right" musical ideas to impress the group.  And improvising seemed so disorganized!  But I learned from my teachers back then a paradox of jazz music: through discipline and practice, creativity can flourish.

John Kao thinks innovation is the same in other fields is the same as in music.  Kao is a business consultant who fosters innovation in large organizations, and his idea is that we can't just wait for "innovation" to happen, we have to take a purposeful approach to gather individuals and share ideas in an open, creative, iterative process. 

As the future of Family Medicine, we should be ready to produce the next new ideas.  Some in our local primary care community have decided to do that in an intentional and effective way, by experimenting with this idea and translating it from Kao's business world to ours. 

The group launched successfully this month and we plan to meet monthly, in the evening, for an hour or two.  There is no "take-away" other than any new insights you pick up.  And there are a few ground rules:
  • After you introduce yourself, you have to offer an idea to add value to the health of your community.
  • No idea is wrong.  In fact in jazz masterclasses, there is a common phrase, "there are no wrong notes, just different choices."
  • We use the Step-up, Step-back principle: If you find you've been talking a lot, step back.  If you find you haven't been talking much, step up.
And then we just go around.  Like in a jazz band, everyone has to solo...

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! great post. Thanks for sharing a very interesting and informative content, it is a big help to me and to others as well, keep it up!
    Most people visit a family doctor when they are sick or injured, but being healthy also means taking care of yourself and maintaining a healthy lifestyle so you get sick less often.

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