Medicine 2.0 — The Situation at ‘Cheese Station C’ has Changed

I am Haw.

Anyone who has read the classic, “Who Moved My Cheese?”, by Spencer Johnson, M.D., will get this reference. If you haven’t read it, I’ll give you the short version. Medicine is in a huge phase of transition. Some people probably saw it coming. I had an idea about it, but nothing close to the palpable reality we are living today. Our Cheese has moved. The traditional model of medicine is changing before our very eyes. New technology, new payment models, new culture. So many moving pieces, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all at once.

In the story Haw is a ‘little person’ living in a maze with his best friend Hem, and two mice named Sniff and Scurry. He sees that the Cheese is gone, and is trying to figure out his next move. Hem is the burned out physician I watched spend his day yesterday on Twitter ranting about the current state of EMR technology. And he’s not alone. There are 1,000’s of Hem’s out there. They are my friends and my colleagues. It’s painful to watch. I wish we could go back to the good ‘ol days… We can’t. The Cheese isn’t going to come back.

Sniff & Scurry didn’t know if the Cheese was coming back, but driven by instinct, they saw it wasn’t where it was supposed to be and immediately started looking in the maze for new Cheese. All you needed to do was to go to the HIMMS conference in Las Vegas this year to meet Sniff & Scurry. People know there are giant pieces of Cheese in this maze of modern healthcare. Sniff & Scurry are the people who will try whatever it takes to get their piece of it. And they will.

I want things to be better.

The beginning of this post probably comes across without much hope. That’s not my intent. I think one needs to understand the background clearly before moving forward. Healthcare is anything but hopeless. It’s a field made up of some of the smartest, hardest working, and most compassionate human beings on the planet. This is my call for us to wake up to our new reality. Stop fighting for the old paradigm. I said it before, it’s not coming back.

I’ll leave you with some inspiration I heard this morning listening to ‘The Doctor Paradox’ podcast. The guest was Daniel Meltzer, MD. His message is one of taking care of his fellow physicians. He felt it was so important, he co-founded a system called “Practicing Excellence”, a toolkit for the modern physician to thrive. The tagline, “Advancing the Field of Physician Effectiveness” is a good summary of his mission. I get his drive on a deep level. That’s at the heart of why I’m involved in a Health IT startup. It’s not about making software. It’s about me and my friends in this maze together.

I believe that if we pool our collective intellect, goodness, compassion, and human will, we can save medicine together. Or, more accurately, re-invent medicine and learn to find new Cheese.

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