The Most Dangerous Thing We Can Do
Donna Cryer is all too familiar with being a patient. The Harvard-educated Georgetown Law grad has excelled professionally. But her personal life has proven more of struggle because of health concerns. She is a liver transplant recipient. Now, she faces the persistent pain involved with rheumatoid and osteo arthritis. It has so damaged her knees, her summer goal is to survive and recover from double knee replacement.
So you can understand if she’s a little fed up. But it’s not the struggles of her own health that really tests her patience. It’s the health care system that she knows can work better. Patients, she adds, have reason to be disappointed, even shocked.
“We thought that health care worked, or that it worked in a particular way.” she explained in a recent Skype interview. “Once we actually needed it, we found out that it didn’t. That there were so many gaps, that there were so many things missing and that there were so many responsibilities that I would have to take on as a patient or patient family member that I was totally ill –prepared to take on.”
Cryer’s Quality Talk will be all about patients and how to raise the volume of their voice in improving the process of seeking and receiving care. Her central theme: Quality is what the patient says it is.
True improvement, she adds, will require a long list of players to get involved—patients, doctors, nurses, health plans, social workers and policy makers among them.
Cryer says the best medicine is a collaborative, learning health care system. It should always look to learn and adjust. That approach, she says, has not been fully adopted by everyone.
“The most dangerous thing we can do in health care is to not do anything,” she adds.
If Cryer’s personal story is any indication, she will not give up seeking improvement and advocating for patient involvement in the pursuit of quality. That’s one reason she says she is so pleased to join the cast of speakers at Quality Talks 2015. She wants to encourage, inspire and challenge.
“It’s very easy to keep things sort of moving along, unless this whole process is disrupted.”