I am clearly experiencing confirmation bias following the Simon Sinek keynote presentation at the national MGMA conference in Boston. I am aware of that having read Decisive, a book by Dan and Chip Heath wherein they share ideas on effective decision making. They label confirmation bias as one of the four villains of effective decision making. In short, it is our predisposition to hear and want to believe concepts that support our way of thinking.
Moving on, Simon Sinek addressed a packed conference hall in Boston on a Sunday afternoon and shared his ruminations on game theory as it related to business, and in particular the business of health care. There are the organizations playing the finite game characterized by known players, an agreed upon set of rules, and a clear end point. Businesses that play to win… Hospital A put Hospital B out of business… game over. Then there are the organizations playing the infinite game, characterized by known and unknown players, agreed and not agreed upon set of rules, who are playing to keep the game going. In healthcare, we should be in the infinite game.
So, I liken this thinking to publicly traded healthcare organizations chasing quarterly earnings on Wall Street, in contrast to the CEO of the non for profit FQHC we spoke with this week who was asking us for assistance, not to squeeze out more profit, but rather to share operational best practices that will allow him to attract and retain qualified and engaged practitioners to stay in the game for his people, his patients. This is why Simon was encouraging the leaders in the MGMA audience to play in the infinite game, in health care and in life. Hence, he confirmed my bias that for profit and healthcare should not be used in the same sentence.