Are You A Systems Stinker?

We all need to be systems thinkers. Many are, but not bureaucrats and regulators in Washington and in State capitals. You may call them systems Stinkers.

Systems Stinkers think in straight lines. They see a problem; reason their way to an answer without evidence that it will work; and implement their so-called solution. Then they are done, or so they think. Their straight-line thinking usually produces “fixes that fail,” and we pay for their failures.

Systems Stinkers do not follow-up on their decisions. They order, someone implements, we pay, and they walk away. They do not consider unintended outcomes. There is no feedback to them, certainly none with effect. If you or I make a bad decision, we get the feedback (“request for payment”) and we have to pay the bill. Systems Stinkers do not. The original space shuttle cost more than 380% over budget. The cost of Medicare was 800% over what was planned. Who paid and is still paying?

Systems thinkers see loops rather than straight lines. They understand that their actions can come back and bite them in the rear. They develop evidence before they act. Their systems have feedback built in. They consider unintended consequences and plan for them.

Nice theory you say but what does it mean in the real world? UMRA and HIPAA are two so-called solutions created by our friendly systems Stinkers.

UMRA (Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1998) was Congress’ solution to the problem of medical care that they required [mandated] for which they allocated no money. It was like passing a law requiring gas stations to fill you up with no one paying. How long could gas stations stay in business? UMRA was a fix that failed. There is still no money for mandated care and no consequence to Congress for ignoring their own rules. Systems Stinking in the real world.

HIPAA the hippo is new low. Originally intended to protect us from losing our health insurance, HIPAA is now supposed to secure our medical privacy, but doesn’t. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars, and the only thing it produces is medical errors. The systems Stinkers’ solution made things worse.

Systems thinking has loops not lines; evidence before action; plans for various contingencies; and proper feedback. Systems thinking would have fixed unfunded mandates as well as insurance portability, in contrast to UMRA and HIPAA.

Systems Stinkers need to become systems thinkers.
Otherwise, we will all drown in red ink and dead bodies.

System MD

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21 comments ↓

#1 Accept No Substitutes – (Part 3 of 3) — Medical Malprocess on 10.29.09 at 8:13 pm

[...] meaning of course that no one and no-thing exists in isolation. What you do here affects there and what happens there impacts here. Also, the Butterfly effect is real. What you do in healthcare affects education, manufacturing, [...]

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Yeah, that’s it, Anon. It’s all a Muslim Socialist ocnspiracy! Obama caleld the CBO onto the White House carpet and threatened them with jihad unless they cooked the books. Film at 11 on Faux Noise!And as for repeal in 2010, good luck with that. Now, conventional politics predict that the Republican Party will pick up some seats in Congress — that’s normal in a mid-year election, for the controlling party to lose some ground — but you’re hallucinating if you think that there will be a 40 seat swing in the House and a 20 seat swing in the Senate, where only 36 seats are up for election.Do you seriously believe that the GOP can win 28 out of 36 Senate seats? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that you may be interested in purchasing.This just proves that Radical Rightwingnuts have no existence in reality. You’re delusional!

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