The Human-Centered Health Blog

Context before Creation


Context before Creation


Care delivery must be redesigned to match the available workforce. There is simply not enough bedside staff to continue the labor-intensive model. Furthermore, health systems are losing money, and costs are growing faster than reimbursement. This may only continue if there is cash to pay salaries and expenses. Thus there is a finite time period before they run out of money. As discussed in the February issue, health systems have less than 12 months of cash. 


Non-profit systems can raise new cash by selling bonds. In the low-interest rate environment of the past 20 years, this worked well. However, today, health systems are losing money, and interest rates have increased.  This will reduce or eliminate issuing new bonds as a source of funding. I’m not interested in predictions about exactly when or specifically how many systems will get in trouble. People are already scared, and it will not help me to add fuel to these worries. The bottom line is the US healthcare system is not on a healthy and sustainable path.  


I believe many (or perhaps most) understand this need to change. Yet they don’t know where to start. For this reason, HCH is expanding to take a more active role in developing a viable plan to redesign our healthcare delivery system. 


Any challenge must be addressed in two stages. First, we must understand the problem in the proper context of how it negatively impacts workers, patients, and other people in the healthcare system. Second, this understanding is used creatively to combine and modify existing products to solve the challenge. It sounds obvious, but I’ve found most people incorrectly assume they know the problem and immediately start working on the 2nd step.


Context and Creation

Healthcare leadership teams have been 100% focused on operational excellence for years. This is their core strength, and it served them well until the global pandemic shifted society’s mindset toward work.  They deeply understand how the byzantine healthcare system works today. In the HCH community, healthcare insiders bring this invaluable context.  They point out the most impactful challenges to address first and understand how these issues impact people and workflows. 


On the other hand, healthcare outsiders understand how to ask the right questions of insiders to gather insights emerging from empathy for the people and an understanding of the existing pain points in the context of the overall system.  This group is, by design, more diverse than the insiders, including product designers, software developers, and many other valuable frames of reference. We have named this group: Creation because it seems to be the best overall summary.


This balance of perspectives is a key attribute of HCH. Open collaboration between Context and Creation points of view is critically valuable. Only by working together can we successfully cut the Gordian Knot of our broken healthcare system. Solutions must immediately provide value to every human involved. 


Please let us know where you bring the most value. Are you a healthcare insider with decades of experience and ready to help HCH understand the exact context of what needs to be improved in our care delivery system? Or are you best suited to help in the Creation of viable solutions leveraging outside perspectives and experience gained from other domains? Submit your response here.


Help Grow the HCH Movement

We strive to keep the ratio of Context members to Creation members evenly balanced. We will continuously work to recruit new members from all walks of life with diverse talents and experiences. The key at this point in the movement is to build “on-ramps” to show people what is possible and allow everyone to get involved and contribute their strengths toward the HCH cause. 


HCH is growing, and we would like your help. Please forward this report to friends or associates you think will be interested in participating.  Time is short, and there’s much to do.

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