My favorite activity today was the art interpretation session. It really reinforced the importance of balancing assumptions and behavior. On the one hand, context can be very important in medicine. We use epidemiology to form a differential diagnosis based on a patient’s demographics. On the other hand, assumptions can be false and lead to misdiagnoses. In the end, I think it’s important to keep both approaches in mind. Sometimes a patient’s presentation is ambiguous. Eventually, we must choose a course of action and develop a treatment plan. However, in going forward with this approach, I must be open to new evidence and embrace a willingness to change my diagnosis based on new information. If this happens, I shouldn’t castigate myself for being wrong, but encourage myself that I have the strength to admit my error based on new information. Admitting being wrong is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
I felt like a good theme for the day was balance. The two concepts I thought about balancing were: using systems based on human-centered design to prevent errors and relying on humans themselves to catch errors. I really liked Tim’s discussion on creating devices and systems that are intuitive and make committing errors impossible. On the other hand, John mentioned how poorly-designed EMRs make healthcare workers more likely to commit errors, thinking the system is foolproof and that dangerous medication orders couldn’t possibly come through. These two topics really reinforced for me the importance of remaining forever vigilant and internalizing John Nance’s 50/50 mentality about healthcare errors.
Today was a terrific day. I’m so appreciative to be here. One thing that I thought was really impactful was the Shirtless Dancing Man commentary on leadership. I thought the explanation of the most important part of a movement being the first follower – rather than the leader – was really unique and turned the traditional conception of making change on its head. So often, being the initiator of change is emphasized. But it’s equally important to recognize a good idea and become a follower so that a novel concept can become a robust movement. In the future, I’ll remain attuned to opportunities for both being the Shirtless Dancing guy AND being a first follower. Being a follower is not a sign of weakness, if it’s a good idea then it’s being a forward thinker!