Author Archives: MattCoopermmd

Situational Awareness – Are we on the same sheet of music?

Maintenance of Situational Awareness, or SA, is crucial to all of our endeavors. It is the perspective and sense of what is going on around us. One would like to say it is an appreciation and evaluation of all that is relevant to the target pursuit plus extra detail to be stored away for access at a later date – often without a direct application in mind. To appreciate all aspects of an endeavor or project is an aspiration, and, depending on the context, unrealistic. In such cases, we depend on team members to help create a shared mental model. Maintaining SA is an active and incessant process. Common speech recognizes this concept in remarks such as “…missing the forest for the trees” or “…functioning with blinders on.” Continue reading

CQI and Performance Evaluation: The Debrief

Continuous quality improvement is well known to us and integral to the culture of 3M. We often think of this as process improvement, employing Six Sigma and Lean methodologies. There is a distinctly human aspect to evaluation of individual and critical team performance because of opportunities for personal growth and refinements to team dynamics, respectively. Tremendous value is achieved when individuals bring absolute honesty and integrity to the process. Continue reading

…Ah yes, the patient!

Quality and integrity were the final syntheses at the end of the journey for enlightenment in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. As is true of many things in life, we can often learn vicariously from reading about the discoveries of others, and author Robert Pirsig’s philosophical reflections of 40 years ago still have relevance today. Quality and integrity are the foundation of all that is good in health care. Caregivers strive to maintain these goals, even in the face of “flavor of the month” initiatives that often superficially address the perceived ills and flaws of healthcare processes and systems.

One need only observe the spreading trend of hospitals advertising care “Navigators” to assist patients in their course of care. Care navigators are viewed as increasingly necessary for certain patients who need advocates to scrutinize and question every aspect of care delivered – from dietary choices to medication type and doses, to the indication and diagnostic yield of scheduled tests, to the relevant experience of surgeons proposing operations. Continue reading