Sunday, December 28, 2008


So what does the Toyota automotive manufacturing process have to do with health care?

A lot, apparently, according to the book, The Best Practice - How The New Quality Movement Is Transforming Medicine, by Charles Kenney.

The author relates the history of the Quality Movement in health care in the USA, in a story-telling narrative style that turns a book on a potentially dry topic, into a page turner. Mr Kenney uses real-life stories to reveal how the health care industry in the USA has slowly realized that quality improvement processes that have traditionally been used by the manufacturing & aviation industries can be applied to health care systems as well, to minimize "defects" (or "adverse events" in the medical world).

I think this book with the mouthful of a title is a must-read for medical professionals to serve as an eye-opener. Quality in Medicine certainly was something of a revelation for me when I worked for that brief period in health administration.

As medical students & then as clinicians, we were never exposed to the "outside world" as far as systems & processes were concerned. We were taught the way our predecessors were taught: mainly by the mentor-apprentice method, the student imitating the teacher, & oftentimes, picking up on bad habits, and operating within an environment of "blame & shame" so that errors remain hidden & buried under a culture of fear, and hence, hindering any possibility of correction.

This book tells of how a handful of people with radical ideas & persistence dared to challenge, & subsequently, changed & improved the quality of health care, starting with their own work environment.

I am inspired by their stories.

There is Hope yet.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Check this out...


Opens May 1st.

PLEASE let it be released here in China!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all a Happy & Safe Holiday Season, wherever you may be!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Impressions from China - HoHoHo

Overheard at a local supermarket, this familiar Christmas jingle...with a twist...:

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one house open sea..."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Season

This Christmas, we will be spending the day as a nuclear family unlike last year when our extended family came to Beijing to visit & we had a house full of laughter, love & cheer. That's not to say that we won't have these sentiments this year, just to a smaller extent. :)

Bittersweet, really, as my older boy will be heading off to college in less than 2 years, & this will be the 2nd last Christmas we will have together as a family before he ventures out into the great, wide world. More than likely, we will be living on different continents, at least for a couple of years - hard to predict in a semi-nomadic family like ours.

From my experience, it doesn't really matter where you are in the world....if your loved ones are with you, the warmth of the holiday season does not diminish as long as we are together.

Wishing all a safe, happy holiday season (despite the dismal economic outlook).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not quite a Merry Christmas

"Shares slump in view of economic climate!"

"Terrorists bomb Mumbai hotel!"

"Blue chip company slashes xxx jobs!"

"Dismal economical outlook in near future!"

"xxx Bank to lay off xxx jobs!"

It's quite depressing reading the news headlines these days. Right, left & center, we are inundated by bad's enough to make one just want to crawl under a rock & hibernate until things start looking better.

Even the health care industry hasn't been spared. I would imagine that the pay cuts & layoffs would affect just the senior management, since the actual doctors, nurses & paramedical staff are not that highly paid in the first place? At least, not compared to the kazillions of dollars that CEO's & senior folks get paid in salary & bonuses. Besides, there always seems to be a shortage of clinical staff in the primary care sector anyway, so cutting their salaries would seem rather short sighted.

So I hope that's not going to happen.

But then I'm not an Economist, I'm just a doctor, so what do I know :).

Just speaking from the heart.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


This is an interesting & different perspective on President-elect Obama & his new team....

I think it will bring focus on the growing population of Third Culture Kids in the world that we live in. With all the conflict that is going on these days, perhaps the future lies in the hands of these young people who have grown up appreciating that there is more to the world than just what lies within their own little community or country.

We'll see.