After much anticipation, the APAC Forum got underway this week. So far we’ve had an incredibly thought-provoking, inspiring and exciting few days as Forum participants have heard from some of the best healthcare thinkers in the world. We’ve been particularly honoured by the presence of our four Keynote speakers: Maureen Bisognano (IHI President and CEO), Don Berwick (former President and CEO of IHI), Sir Muir Gray (Chief Knowledge Officer for the National Health Service) and Dr Harry Pert (a Rotorua GP and President of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners). The Forum continues today so I look forward to sharing the highlights of this event with you in next week’s post.
In the meantime, I want to give you some other food for thought. During my time as CEO, I’ve often been asked which books I’ve found useful or interesting in my career. It’s a good question – as the bookshelves in my office reveal, I love reading. Here are some of the better ones I’ve read which may interest you:
- Better by Atul Gawande
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
- Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Many articles from Atul Gawande, an American surgeon and healthcare commentator, are also in the New Yorker magazine and on his website.
- Time to Care by Dr Robin Youngson
This book is about Robin’s experience and insights into passion and compassion, and why it’s so important in healthcare. Robin is an anaesthesiologist in Auckland who I had the great pleasure of working with on the Quality Improvement Committee.
- Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics both by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
These books, particularly SuperFreakonomics, provide some fantastic insights into healthcare. While they are about economics, they’re still very interesting and relevant.
- The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
As we all know one of the key things we need to be focussing on is addressing issues of inequality in health. The Spirit Level analyses the impact on society of health inequality.
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
Jim Collins is probably the writer who’s had one of the biggest influences on my thinking as CEO. This book, along with the companion volume Built to Last, provide excellent analyses of what makes some organisations great and others not.
- The Best Practice by Charles Kenney
This book presents a series of wonderful case studies where healthcare systems have used quality improvement techniques to hugely improve healthcare.
- The Innovator’s Prescription by Clayton M. Christensen
Again, a great analysis of how developments in technology and healthcare are reshaping the world around us.
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
These are fantastic books full of insights, including the case of ‘Million Dollar Murray’. Gladwell did an analysis of Murray, a homeless veteran, who was consuming $1 million of healthcare support every year because it was delivered in a fragmented way. Despite the high price tag, it didn’t have a positive impact on him. Although Gladwell muses that it might have been better to simply give Murray $1 million a year, I think the more important consideration is the one found right at the heart of Whaanau Ora: How do we coordinate services across the sector much more effectively to deliver better value and integrate care?
- Fads, Fallacies and Foolishness in Healthcare Management and Policy by Theodore R. Marmor
Marmor is a former Professor at the Kennedy School of Government who I heard speak at a conference in Auckland a couple of years ago. I greatly enjoyed this book. He really blows away the cobwebs and exposes how there’s a great deal of what can only be described as ‘bumpf’ in a lot of our management thinking.