Would Hiring A Sommelier Improve Healthcare?

The tag line on my bottle of Coke is, #ShareaCoke. I read it as Sharia-Coke. Perhaps nobody else read it the same way. But if you are Coke’s Marketing Officer, did you really want to take that chance?

Most days I feel like I am Alan Turing’s ghost. The reason I do what I do is to entice companies to do what they cannot imagine, and most times I do not have to apologize for that because they have not taken the time to imagine it.

There are a lot of idioms about horses. I may not know what an idiom is, but I went to Google, and I was good to go. You can lead a horse to water; hold your horses, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If you are a hippophile—one who loves horses, I shall leave it to you to find others. There is an idiom that states, “You can’t beat a dead horse.”

My rapprochement is, of course, you can, if it is the only horse available. And sometimes you should; my apologies to the horses who may have been following along up to this point.

I look at healthcare through puce-colored glasses. The healthcare business, on the provider side, is a world-class, 2.0 industry. No other nation can provide the services we provide. However, the business of healthcare, how we run it, is a 0.2 industry. Providing world-class services without being able to make it easy for people to acquire those services is ridiculous. Isn’t it?

There may be some of you who continue to wonder why you are reading a blog written by someone you believe to be a healthcare heretic; a witch. One way to help you cast aside such dispersions would be to drop a house on me—like in the Wizard of Oz. If it turns out that I am wearing striped socks and ruby slippers, and my legs curl up, you were right, and you may get on with your real work. Otherwise, may I entice you to humor me for another minute?

Running your business well comes down to doing a few basic tasks extremely well every time. Being successful requires that you execute those tasks at a level above and beyond how others execute those same tasks, and it requires that your customers believe that you are capable of doing that again and again.

Once you miss that opportunity nobody is going to award you a do-over. Several formerly grand firms missed their opportunity; Blockbuster, Radio Shack, and Sears provide grim reminders. Barnes and Noble seemed to have just realized that their boat sailed and left them tied to the dock. NPR announced that the former bookstore behemoth is considering turning their stores into wine bars. Maybe their business strategy is that after millions of their former customers buy books on Amazon that they will come to Barnes and Noble to read their books and enjoy a nice pinot noir with fava beans.

I cannot think of a single entity that has managed to put the toothpaste back into the tube after having missed their industry’s defining moment.

Healthcare’s defining moment is now. Or, never.

The 0.2 business model, the one reliant on call centers open only half as many hours as Comcast’s call centers is in for a rude awakening. The business model needs to leapfrog itself. Executives can try to multiply the model by 10 to get it to 2.0, or they can develop a strategy.

Healthcare 0.2 is:

  • Stationary
  • One-way
  • Unintelligent
  • Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 6 PM

Healthcare 2.0 is:

  • Mobile
  • Interactive
  • Cognitive (Understand, Reason, Learn…URL)
  • Cloud-based
  • 24 X 7

if executives choose to forego the move to 2.0, perhaps they should consider hiring a sommelier.



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