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Great Pipes in a Mad World - HCIT Lessons From Idol - Part 2

May 21, 2009
by Joe Bormel
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Great Pipes in a Mad World - Part 2

Last night was the season finale of American Idol. As we previously discussed, there are lessons for HCIT. Are there more lessons as a result of the finale?

In the spirit of continuous, life-long learning, I'd like to start the discussion and that lesson list here:

1) You don't need to finish first to be a big winner or even "the" big winner.

The top dozen finalist were all on stage performing during the finale. Several enjoyed duets in primetime with music legends.

Same for us. With the rare exception of fixed-pie economics, where in order to win, your competitor must lose, "a good performance" by anyone makes the pie bigger. In this case, the pie is the total audience captured. The best way to win is to give a great performance almost wherever you are. Whether you're the big winner is often irrelevant. And, of course, your performance improves as a result of the effort. (See Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers for more on that, with examples of computers, sports, and rock music.)

2) Musical Theater is important for all of us.

Adam Lambert has been on stage since age 10. This showed, and showed very positively. Look no futher than the simple gesture of going from sitting to standing in the middle of "Mad World." Highly impactful. All of the artists showed a distinct presence or absence of showmanship, including Kris Allen at the very end.

Same for us. Does the tone of your voice or mine matter? Of course it does, whether we're one-on-one with a superior or subordinate, client or non-business related friend. How about body posture? Do you lean forward when you listen to someone, lean back, or never considered that it makes a difference. Just like a limp handshake (thanks Gwen), these simple, physical acts with our bodies leave a powerful impression. Do you square your shoulders with the speaker during a board room meeting? More on that here in this audio podcast (Manager Tools - a rich source for mentoring.)

3) The world of Web 2.0 economics is with us, although we use the terms "patient-centered" and "Health 2.0"

Look at how American Idol makes money, and compare that with consumer-facing healthcare. For Idol, it's a blend: traditional advertisers like Ford, Coke, Apple, direct micro-transaction sales through iTunes, upcoming 50-city concert tour, and probably lots of other vehicles including merchandising, product placements, etc. And I'll bet they paid very few performers more than a few thousand dollars each. They didn't have the best or latest technology or established talent. They used viral adoption.

Same for us and our organizations in the future. This may be less true for service and self-pay (often also known as no pay), but in the spirit of the direct-to-consumer healthcare world, the parallels are important to consider.

In the world of Web 2.0 commerce, monetizing services is not as simple as it might have been before Web 2.0. I've previously outlined the issues here, in Science 2.0. Web 2.0's core competencies (from O'Reilly) include 1) customer services with cost-effective scalability, 2) data, information, knowledge and wisdom resources that get richer as more people use them, 3) trusting users, and 4) lightweight development and business models.

Before you diss this with "healthcare is different," please realize that forward looking providers are using these "2.0 Principles" today. Kaiser members and our U.S. Vets have Web-based PHRs. Kaiser does group visits for common, chronic health issues (very scalable); Cleveland Clinic has rolled out, globally, services that were impossible to roll out five years ago, using both Google Health and MicroSoft HealthVault technologies. Like Google, they often label these as "beta" roll-outs. That's Web 2.0 code language for "I'm one of the big winners." Smaller providers, like my physician (in a small group), have had an EMR for years, and it uses a Web-service from a different company for e-Prescribing. There are no errors or delays in my prescriptions, except for the delay deliberately built-in by my chain pharmacy to assure I spend about $50 dollars on unrelated food and merchandise while I wait!

Think about it for a moment. What hidden lessons did you catch?

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