What This Blog is About

A long time mentor and friend, Cicely Berry, often says: "all we do comes from our need to survive".

Cis is the Voice Director of The Royal Shakespeare Company. Her profound work and deep appreciation of the human spirit has affected diverse communities all over the world.

Will take you to my current work.

This blog is dedicated to the belief that the overall health of a community or organization is a clear reflection of their ability to communicate.

"Cada cabeza es un mundo" - Cuban proverb

"Every head is a world"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is This Why I Pay Almost 3K Per Month for Two People?


How corporate P.R. works to kill healthcare reform

Health insurers have become expert at using P.R. to get what they want. I got out before the latest round

Editor's note: Wendell Potter, formerly a communications officer for the private health insurer Cigna, is now the Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy. He delivered the remarks below at the Center for American Progress.

By Wendell Potter

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Knowledgeable and Clear Health Care Infomation

Always compelling and open, this blog by Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is important to all of us right now.



Please help others to read this and become more informed about critical decision making as a country and as families, patients and practitioners.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Heard from a friend at the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) today, and was reminded of what the author Tom Wolf recently said regarding the current world economy and who we look to for influence.

Wolf said: "Wall Street is like Broadway. Nothing new happens there anymore".

Here's to the people at the RSC who work so hard to carry on the work of theatre. The way Shakespeare was, and is, always current.

Here's to the RSC's willingness to confront the search for truth, humanity and politics.

In today's world, they are a very old company brave enough to work in earnest.


Interesting Article About Facebook Use

I am working with some grad students who make the point that much of what we so urgently here about now regarding networking issues is old news to them.

They wonder "why did it take so long for people to talk about this stuff?"


Published: July 1, 2009

My friend is a popular eighth-grade teacher. She has a Facebook account and has been “friended” by many of her students, who make their pages available to her. Consequently, she has learned a lot about them, including the inevitable under-age drinking and drug use and occasional school-related mischief like cheating on tests or plagiarizing assignments. Must she report any of this to the school, the police or the parents? The school has no policy for dealing with this modern problem. A.S., NEW YORK


Monday, May 11, 2009

What's New and Good and Bad

Today, for the first time in the history of the work place, we have a small army of workers who are skilled at creating and using visual media. An arena that was previously held for "experts".

And, I understand that visual media dates back to the cave days. Every tribe has it's story tellers. Now, everyone has a pallet.

I was listening to a radio discussion about cruelty on U Tube. How people actually find humor in human suffering with certain videos.

One response regarding a video apparently showing someone in mental and physical torment was:
"I did not even think the person was real".

This got me to thinking. I spend considerable time developing and observing social networks and social network analysis. It is becoming clear to me that the very same mechanisms for creating community also can and do build arenas totally absent of empathy.

This lack of empathy was a notion put forth by the commentator during his interview.

I also began to think that the ability to network is new, but then again, is it? And, it seems that many people, build networks, text one another and use abbreviated language to build a sense of home. A home that is theirs. Not their parent's home, or their relative's home, but their own home.

Historically, there are many references to arenas without empathy. In Ancient Rome for example, empathy was a vote by the aristocracy and a cry from the public for yes or no.

Our ability to network is deeper than the social marketing hype we are experiencing today.

It has something to do with our nature. And that, we must always recognize as good and capable of what is bad.
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lost a friend this week

Gerald Frisch died the other day. Jerry was the inventor of The Three Way Validation process.

Simply put, Jerry's process was developed long before technology would exist to accomplish what his system identified.

Jerry was committed to concepts like:

  • No proposals. Only Action Plans.
  • Helping CEOs discover if their intentions were really communicated and acted upon by managers, workers and associated communication strategies.

Jerry was in his early ninety's when he provoked me to attend several meetings with NYC hospital executives. He would leave these meetings with a clear notion of who was the real activist and who was the complacent buyer who would not act on anything valuable.

He started his career in the Armed Forces, went on to U.S. News and World Report and then formed his own company.

I learned a great deal from him. I will miss his difficult self and the challenges he gave me to keep up with his thinking.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Great Deal is Being Missed in My Neighborhood

Today, several imperatives exist to create ethical, meaningful and profitable business

  • Transparency of intentions and expectations. People need to understand what you are about and what’s in it for them, in order to engage during a stressful time.
  • Statements like “added value” can be interpreted as bromides unless there is some visible example of what you are talking about
  • In today’s networked environment, connecting to underlying issues and related community needs will support decisions to stimulate the buying of services. This must be understood as foundational and not theoretical.

Small businesses with BIG problems and Big businesses with many SMALL problems that will become enormous. Information, communication and transformation, using any media that creates a Network of useful change

In February, during The Ideas to Help NYC's Economy event sponsored by Crains, it was stated that re-vitalizing the economy of New York City is “dependent upon the development of small businesses…small business cannot make the mistakes of big business”. It’s true, we must support the small business community and we cannot afford the “big” mistakes.

There is however, a current and curious imbalance

Too many small businesses are closing, due to sudden and unusually high rent increases in areas like Greenwich Village. And, even before that terrible surprise occurs, these owners may not have had the finances or ability to have developed fundamental business plans.

In larger organizations, silos act like neighborhoods or fiefdoms, avoiding collaboration and resulting in lost ROI. A walk along Hudson Street in NYC, is an alarming example of businesses that are gone forever with a significant number of these properties abandoned for several years.

Interestingly, we now have a small army of experienced advisers who have no work. Included are business transformation, IT, financial services and web development experts. Small businesses represent neighborhoods in need. We are not connecting these work seeking experts with those neighborhood needs and the relationship to the larger economy.

Neighborhood degeneration is costly in every way

Financial, cultural and security issues are all at question. What’s missing and what I believe in offering, is a proven methodology based on rapid discovery with the ability to align intentions, strategy and results.

It’s not traditional or costly consulting. This approach helps to contemporize and accelerate the work of everyone who is involved. I am interested in getting business for myself and with my colleagues, by helping others find meaningful work, using a networked approach to help one another.

It's important today, to collect real data to dissect significant problems and provide actual communication steps that can be used immediately, to create measurable improvement.

Small businesses create conversations that define our commerce and culture

Today, I had several conversations with store owners who live for their family business. The conversations were deeply moving and totally relevant to the vitality of NYC's economy and life.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"It's noboby. Just the IT guy"

A new Turner Broadcast television show called Trust Me, is set in a traditional Chicago big scale advertising company.

The show has a ring of giving life to a dinosaur and not really connected to today's business environment.

I though it was an ironic moment tonight, when I caught this comment.

The senior creative director was hiding his boss in the creative director's office. Seems that his boss had been sent home to calm down after an intramural altercation.

When a copy writer (and the show has some pretty solid work place stereotypes), asked the creative director - "who's in there?" - the response was : "Oh, that's nobody. It's the IT guy".

Now, that rang true. And maybe, the only moment of the show that did.

Out of touch dinosaurs in all industries, always give themselves away with the simple language of exclusion and silo behavior.

How many organizations still think of IT as the help desk?

While it is not uncommon to respect and even publicize the IT functions of a company, it's another thing to collaborate with IT to achieve business objectives and strategies.

I am not saying anything new. In fact, that's the point.

Sometimes, pop-culture TV is more insightful than intended.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Olympus Medical Center (WA) gets approval for a $2 million GE Centricity practice EMR purchase. This board member must know hospital IT: "There are going to be changes. I just feel them. And I think all of them are going to cost money."

Posted on HIStalk today.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Health Care Innovation?

Posted today, on http://www.histalk.com

"An OB-GYN sues a Utah hospital, claiming the CEO forced him out and that nurses falsified charts to make him look bad. He also claims he dictated a chart note that contradicted the nurse’s fraudulent changes, but the hospital deleted it from the EMR. The HIPAA audit trail should prove it one way or another, and surely the hospital won’t publicly claim that its systems don’t have one".

Interesting perspective on electronic medical records and security.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Companies Look to Provide Infrastructure Services

Interesting announcement today from IBM about water. I wonder how this kind of innovation to "go on the offensive" can help organize issues in health care infrastructure? Like Electronic Medical Records. It does not take much imagination to consider "infrastructure" to connect with a different look at what the word means. Feeding mass data into network computing is the very heart of infrastructure in a networked economy.

Have a read. Interesting, that water is a primary survival need.



SAN FRANCISCO -IBM Corp. wants to get really deep into water.

The technology company is launching a new line of water services Friday, hoping to tap a new sales vein by taking the manual labor out of fighting pollution and managing water supplies. IBM says the overall water-management services market could be worth $20 billion in five years.

The effort is part of a wider role IBM wants to play in infrastructure services, including automobile traffic and power grids. In each instance, IBM is trying to persuade utilities and government agencies to overhaul their computer networks and link digital sensors together for better insights.

For example, instead of a meter-reader from the power company traipsing through your backyard, IBM is banking that one day your meter and your neighbors' will feed data directly into the utility's computer network.

Same for water.

IBM says its new services will help water providers become more efficient in overseeing ever-more-precious supplies and responding faster to contamination and other emergencies.

The company has been working on a project called SmartBay with an Irish marine institute to develop sensors that are monitoring pollution, marine life and wave conditions around Galway Bay and transmitting data to researchers. Among the benefits, IBM contends, is that computers can track floating debris that pose a hazard to commercial fishermen.

This "smarter planet" theme is part of IBM's strategy to keep making money in the recession. The company's chairman and CEO, Sam Palmisano , said in a letter to shareholders this week that IBM will be aggressive in drumming up business in areas like managing traffic, power grids, water, food, health care and finance. He vowed the efforts will help Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM grow by getting early starts in areas that will need help for years to come.

We will not simply ride out the storm," Palmisano wrote. "Rather, we will take a long-term view, and go on offense."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Five Sites that Let You Experience the Real-Time Web Today

"One of the most interesting trends on the Internet right now is a move towards a more real-time experience. We have seen a lot of discussion lately about how Twitter is leading the charge by creating a search engine for the real-time web, for example. However, there are also a good number of other services that already expose some of the promises of the real-time web. In this post, we will have a look at some of the most interesting ones."


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good Info Sent to Me Regarding Health Care Collaboration

A Disruptive Solution for Health Care

As this nation looks to a paradigm shift in order to tackle our healthcare crisis (because what we’ve been doing over and over clearly isn’t working), it’s exciting to see that leading publications carry the same theme in their reporting on this critical issue that impacts all of us:
- It’s important to find a way to get people engaged in the process instead of being the subject of the process.
- There’s a belief that disruptive innovation, as happens over and over in business, can lead to significant wealth creation opportunities, this time, along with providing enormous societal value.
- People need to find holistic incentive.
- A collaborative approach to more consistent engagement is required.
- The lead event can’t simply be more consumerism; there has to be a desire to change behavior based on the construction of personalized knowledge first.
- There is no “pill,” but rather it’s about taking a systems-based approach to create the requisite new mental model in order to come up with a sustainable solution.
- Whatever is done has to be profitable, and it has to be profitable quickly.
- The solution has to be scalable.

The following sampling of content are just a few of the many articles, peoples, blogs, reports etc all circling around the same vision and understanding.

EthoSquare captures all of these in its discovery learning application with the launch of the Quality of Life Network.

A Disruptive Solution for Health Care - BusinessWeek – 23-February-2009
Full article: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2009/tc20090220_090975.htm

“The answers lie in understanding the concept of disruptive innovation, which explains how successful and dominant businesses can be completely upended by new players that enter the marketplace using markedly different business models. ... So if change is so difficult, how does an industry ever introduce greater quality, efficiency, and affordability? Disruptive innovations have been able to do this over and over in a myriad of industries by initially taking root and introducing change in areas of "nonconsumption."”

How to Make Electronic Medical Records a Reality - New York Times – 01-March-2009
Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/business/01unbox.html

““This is really not a technology problem,” observed Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s a matter of incentives and market failure.” ... But the technology is just a tool, one that needs to be used properly to improve health care. ...So the legislation states that physicians will be paid only for the “meaningful use” of digital records.”

Health-Care Technology: Patient Involvement Helps - BusinessWeek – 23-February-2009
Full article: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2009/tc20090223_182043.htm

“... getting patients involved in the effort, along with hospitals and doctors' offices, can lead to substantial benefits. The research, conducted by Harvard Medical School and two other institutions, shows that reminding patients to take a critical cancer test is actually more effective than reminding their doctors about the same test. ... Employers are showing an increasing interest in electronic records, too. ... Rather than putting all the emphasis on how physicians will use e-records, the focus also has to be on how e-records can be used to get patients more involved in their care.”

Health-Care Reform, Corporate Style – BusinessWeek – 29-July-2008
Full article: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_32/b4095000246100.htm

“ ... If on-site clinics are beloved by boss and worker alike, why aren't all companies building them? For starters, there has to be scale. Clinic managers say there should be at least 1,000 employees in a single location to make the economics work, and the majority of workers must sign up.”

Friday, February 6, 2009

Politics blinds us from seeing true expertise

Recently, a plane was piloted to an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York City. We all know the story.

The pilot is heroic in his ability, humanity and courage. So were the crew and the fantastic New Jersey and New York ferry boat captains who rushed without hesitation to what could have been a dangerous situation for them. None of these people, including the Coast Guard, Fire Department and Police arrived without profound ability and willingness to help people survive.

Yesterday, I heard that Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines offered the spectacular captain of the plane a job. Branson offered to pay this man twice the salary of any of Virgin's current pilots and invite him to be an astronaut in Virgin's developing space travel plan.

Now Branson is known to be a good man. However, I found this offer to be superficial and exploitative. The captain of the distressed plane is an expert on airline safety with years of learning, analysis and mentoring. Would it not be better to invite this man to help an industry?

Sometimes, I truly believe that we function in the work place from political agendas with limited vision. That politics and money cause us as leaders (in industry and humanitarian issues), to be matrixed within a faulty framework. Politics runs deep in our perception and behavior.

Aristotle said: "All men are by nature, political". The key in that is "by nature".

How is our nature changed or inhibited in a world where politics drains our imagination and puts us into categories of liked and disliked. When vaudevillians become critics of policy and human interaction while people listen and actually, believe them.

Can we see the reality of true expertise when it is in front of us? In today's environment, I believe vision becomes fractured. Not vision as visionary, but vision as simply seeing what is right in front of us.

Why hasn't this pilot
been asked by our government to help the airline industry?
Instead, he gets a public relations offer that's based on a higher salary to continue flying, which demeans both his knowledge and experience.

America has lost an edge on innovation, relevant risk taking and pride of appropriate experimentation. We need to see where expertise is underutilized and who we need to include in the conversation.