John Nosta: THINKOLOGY The Intersection of Thought, Creativity and Inspiration


Being Liked: An Essential Element to Improving Healthcare

Paging Dr. Hackenbush!

While this image might not conger thoughts of quality, high-tech medicine, it might make you smile.  And there's the secret.  Like-ability.  Today's busy and complicated world of medicine has moved away from what most industries call "customer service" and evolved into an impersonal gauntlet of technology and limited human interaction.


Paging Dr. Welby!

Remember him?  Marcus Welby, MD.  Even in those days,  conflicts between a modern perspective and "innovators" was  the basis for a very real, and hit show.  The plots often concerned a professional conflict between well-meaning physicians. Here, Dr. Welby's unorthodox way of treating patients was pitted against the more strait-laced methods of Dr. Steven Kiley (James Brolin). The catch with this particular program was that the roles were reversed in that Dr. Kiley was much younger than Dr. Welby. In the similar series Medical Center, it is the older doctor who is more orthodox and the younger who is radical. The opening credits of "Welby" for each episode reminded viewers of the generation gap between the two doctors, Welby driving his long sedan and Kiley riding a motorcycle. Welby had served in the US Navy as a doctor during the war, and was a widower. He owned a sail boat and enjoyed the ocean. (Source:  Wikipedia)

Paging Dr. House!

In our fictitious world of physicians, Doctor House very well may be the smartest in the group. But what he has in brain power is often compromised by his "customer service" or perhaps even "patient service". He's the smartest guy in the room...but does he behavior promote that best actions and responses?



The power of a positive experience

Could healthcare be vastly improved by an added focus to "patient service"? In our system today, the point of care--from the emergency room to the family practice office--is a cauldron of information and emotion that is punctuated by the speedy visit of a distracted doctor (or other healthcare provider).  The resultant dialogue is broken and  can drive poor if not horrific health outcomes.  And the problem isn't just with medicine.  Relationships with your car dealer, credit card company and supermarket are all impacted by the "two-sided engagement" that builds trust and drives action.  Yet American Express and The Four Seasons Hotel understand this and make service a central part of their offering.

Customer Service as a component of quality care

Today, tremendous brain power and lots of dollars are seeking to tweak the system.  Policies and programs are developed and implemented to shift patient compliance just a few small percentages or drive a higher level of patient recognition of diseases and symptoms.  Yet, I wonder about the power of superior engagement and the healthy nature of a simple return this relationship? The human smile can work wonders to drive activity.  And this is exactly where healthcare need to move!



FAT FREE = DANGER! (How I hate fat-free half & half)

OK,  so I'm exaggerating a little--but only a little.  I'm really concerned that the presentation of "fat-free" as some "healthy option" is not only a misrepresentation of the facts, but is down-right dangerous.

Be skeptical of the Claim

Visions of farms, green grass and fresh cream begin to fill my mind.  Secondly, the sense of "health" is clearly expressed in both copy and layout.  But behind this expression of health lies a very sinister mixture of fructose and deception.  Just take a look at the ingredients

Always read the label

Simply put, the fat is gone.  But it's replaced with corn syrup.   And there lies the rub.  You see, there's no such thing as a free lunch (or cup of coffee).  When the fat is removed, the taste and mouth feel leaves you wanting more.  So sugar--in the form of fructose and glucose--is added to make up this concoction called "fat-free half and half".  It's not all the great taste of half and half with the fat removed.  It's a sugar drink that is masquerading as half and half.  Sure it's low-fat.  But it's high-sugar.

At first blush, the concept of "low-fat" triggers a simple response:  HEALTHY

This is where a major part of the problem lives.  Low fat isn't really a term that, as it does at face value, means the fat has been reduced.  It generally means that the composition of the food has been re-processed to give you a great taste experience without the dietary consequences of fat.  But what do we really get for this trade-off?






Unfortunately, we get more than we bargained for.  We get the intrusion of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup into our diets and the metabolic impact is dire.  In fact, fructose is metabolize more like alcohol and the health ramifications are very similar.











The toxic truth about sugar

The impact is well represented in the video featuring Robert Lustig, MD.  He's a pediatric endocrinologist and has a wise and informed perspective on the evil of sugar:

So the next time you reach for a "low-fat" food" make sure you're actually picking an option that doesn't play bait and switch and loads you up on sugar!