There is Good News Out There

I had the good fortune last week to see a screening of excerpts from an extraordinary documentary film that will be shown on PBS television stations in April. The film is called Rx: the quiet revolution and highlights four case studies. Each is an inspiring example of new models of health care delivery that are advancing the “triple aim” of better care for individuals, better health outcomes for communities, and lower costs. Our own remarkable Dr. Jennifer Mieres is the film’s executive producer.

The screening left me inspired and in awe of the great work being done by front line professionals all across the country. It also introduced me to a fabulous metaphor for the importance of engaging patients in their own care.

A native Alaskan associated with the Southcentral Foundation — a community-based healthcare system – explained their approach to care by imagining how you would try to hit a target. If your goal is to hit the target with a rock, then you could just practice throwing the rock, refining your technique and improving your aim, and eventually you would succeed. If however, your goal is to hit the target with a bird, then you would only succeed if you placed something of value to the bird at the target. The message was clear. People, like birds (and quite unlike rocks) have their own ideas about where they want to go and what they want to do. Getting the bird to the target or a person to better health, is not about trying harder to get the “rock” to do what you want, it is about finding out what the person wants, and building care around that.

Learn more about the film at and don’t miss it when it airs!

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