Have the Tables Turned on Your Practice?


I stood there with the other workers, a large rotating table separating us. As the parts moved by we each glued on another piece until Mary took them and put them in a box.

Summer 1972. College was a few months and thousands of parts away.

There was a lot of movement, but it was all happening in front of me. I was standing still. Sure I was dreaming. But mainly I was gluing parts.

Substitute parts for patients and you have the plight of most medical groups. Standing still, the movement happening outside. Outside in terms of patient flow, outside in terms of deal flow. And outside in terms of the changes to the business of medicine.

Some others think of building a larger table or multiple tables.

Few others revel in the notion of finding profit in the entire supply chain to patients as through-put.

Even fewer others see a future in which there are no tables.

For medical groups, simply engaging in tactics addresses making the table more efficient. Planning is taking the notion of the table as it is and projecting incremental improvement. Strategy is imagining a future without a required tethering to a table at all and then mapping backwards to the present.

Like I learned in the heat of August 1972, movement, as in the table, as in something that happens to you, isn’t really movement at all. It’s standing still.

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