The Weekend Read – The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

UnknownAnother book to which I was introduced by my brother, both Rees boys are hungry readers.

I thought that I had featured it here already but it has either been edited away or my brain is willing me to have done so. What has brought Atul Gawande back to mind is that he is this year’s BBC Reith Lecturer. At time of writing he is three quarters through the broadcasts; they are available to download and I would urge you to listen.

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, author and public health researcher. As a young man he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford  where he was a Rhodes scholar as was one of his first bosses, Bill Clinton, for whom he acted as an adviser during his election campaign and chaired a government committee after his election. Medicine won out and he returned to complete his medical degree after spending a year or so in Washington.

He has written, initially for The New Yorker, then more widely and has published several books, the third of which is my suggested weekend read. Its full title is The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right and it deals with the adaptation of simple ideas can transform how we operate in any field. I am not going to do a full review here, just take a look here, here and here.

In the past when I have suggested to dentists that they may want to read the book and perhaps adopt some of the philosophy to their practices the responses have been mixed, to say the least. They vary from the “what’s the point? I never make mistakes”, through “it’s all very well in operating theatres but I’m not sure how it would work here,” to the resounding, “that’s what I do when I’m flying and I already do it to a certain extent, I look forward to seeing what else I can learn”.

It is a great shame that the introduction of the care Quality Commission into the lives of many dental practitioners has given the idea of “box ticking” a bad name. The accumulation of policies in order to justify one’s existence to an inspector who is inspecting the wrong things is not the same thing as having a safe practice where clearly thought out and understood processes govern every stage of patient and staff interaction.

Read, adopt, adapt and improve.

 You can get buy the book from Amazon here.

The Monday Morning Quote #295

“Whenever a company decides it’s ok to screw its suppliers, its customers, or its employees, it is only a matter of time until it gets around to screwing all 3 groups.

That is because the idea that screwing people is ok becomes the corporate mindset.”

Comment about IBM on the Cringely blog

Would you really let these guys manage your online reputation?

I recently received a communication via Linkedin. It’s my own fault I know, like the final glass of red, I shouldn’t have said yes without thought. I should have heeded Michael O’Donnell’s advice.

Here’s the message:

“My company, Practice Builders has created your Online Reputation Assessment. The assessment covers all of your online patient reviews (including some that you may not be aware of) plus your Online Reputation Score (A-F scoring). You might actually be surprised to see the results.
Please let me know whom  should I be speaking to about this assessment. If it is not you, please forward my message to the appropriate person.
This assessment costs $199  but Practice Builders is providing it complimentary as a promotion for the month of November.”

Then several more messages via email with no option to unsubscribe, trying to be polite I responded:

Please stop sending me these emails.
If you had any idea about my business you would know that I am not in clinical practice and therefore have no patients to give online reviews.

But they keep coming.

“Your Online Reputation Assessment has now been created by Practice Builders, the nation’s leader in healthcare-practice success since 1979. Your assessment includes all of your online patient reviews, whether positive or negative, and may include some that you are unaware of, plus your Online Reputation Score (A-F scoring). You might be surprised to see the results.
I would like to send this assessment to the appropriate person. If that is not you, please forward this message to that person. This Online Reputation Assessment has a $199  value, but Practice Builders is providing it free of charge during the month of December.
Simply reply to this email if you would like me to present the assessment to you.

So Steve Thomas, John Webster and all your team at and it is obvious you know sweet Fanny Adams about me and my business and so will I not use your services.

I believe a reputation is built on credibility which comes from working with real people who appreciate the service that you provide.

Now how do I get you to go away?

The Monday Morning Quote #294

“People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.”

Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Free download here.


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