Monthly Archives: November 2013


Stefan Larsson: What doctors can learn from each other

Doctor Who celebrates its 50th Birthday!  Oh and a Ted talk involving Doctors.

I think I have a attitude which is becoming more common towards doctors and health care these days. 

Trust no one!

Why or where this attitude came about, I have no explanation.  I do not work in a hospital or am beside medical practitioners and I have no insight into their conversations behind closed doors.  The closest interactions I had were with students (or doctors in training, so to speak) who did nothing but talk about the mad profit they’d be earning the moment they graduated.

Hmm.. Maybe that’s when the seed of distrust was planted.

On the other hand, there’s something else about people that does become quite clear to me when I happen to come across it.

Now before going into a full description, its probably an easy guess that I’m a fan of games (nerd).  I’ve played poker events, thousands of chess games and dozens of other tournaments in easily a dozen different categories.  If there was something common among all of them, it is that a player can become ‘on tilt’.

It might happen after a disappointing loss, or if there are personal problems or sometimes if you’ve just been on your feet for too long.  It can make you abrasive, abrupt or simply less responsive.  I once went on tilt (due to a bad romance) and even though I was playing ‘chess by email’ and I had plenty of time to think, the best logical moves I made were no where NEAR my standard level of play.  The best course of action I could come up with was short of where I would normally be, but even more oddly, I didn’t even realize it.  I honestly believed I was making the best moves I could make, even though they were half as good as they normally were.

Why is that important to this?

Half of the time I would meet someone related to the medical industry, I’d say that the person was ‘On Tilt’. (see descriptions above)

These weren’t situations where there was a room of a hundred patients waiting just down the hall.  This would be at casual events far removed from the work place.  Maybe they were overworked, maybe they had eaten a bad piece of cheese but in any case, the competitive side of mind could tell that they weren’t in the mindset to be making optimal decisions.

Larsson’s talk, eases my mind about it all.  Similar as we can tell bad stories on our online wall, innovations can be shared amongst professionals.  In essence, Larsson is talking about using the hive mind to fine tune the processes that exist.  That even if ‘On Tilt’, its still the better decision because its no longer relying on just the lone entity.

Filmed: Oct 2013

Current number of views: 167,960

It shouldn’t come to surprise then, that I immediately thought after the talk, “Wasn’t this already happening!?”  Shouldn’t doctors be constantly attending conferences and attaining weekly newsletters detailing the latest and greatest methodologies?

The answer is yes they are, but much like any other conference and news letter, it’s also a dated system of information relaying that is also being filtered before sharing.  It’s a system that works but at a speed that is slow or difficult to implement (although it’s situation dependent).  Worse, there also exists a natural trepidation regarding accepting anything new. 

One of the hallmarks of innovation is that it questions the previous incarnation or process as possibly replaceable. 

Replacing things is expensive.  The benefit from the cost of doing so often requires a great deal of justification.  Unfortunately, after a short while the situation might become like the tools used when Jack Nicholson became the Joker in Batman. 

This, although a successful operation, was also clearly a failure of patient trust.  He should, in the very least, have made a referral before handing him the mirror.  What does this teach?  If you end at yourself being the single ultimate authority, you end up getting a crazy guy dressed in purple suits terrorizing Gotham.

And that is probably where the greatest amount of distrust may stem from, that standing from a position where a doctor ‘cannot learn more’ from where she/he graduated with, is obviously false.  Its a false concept visible to everyone, especially to patients. (And a partial reason why alternate methods become popular)

The notion of doctors talking to LEARN from each other, admits a certain level of humility that isn’t always visible. 

In any case, it is a great idea and one definitely worth sharing.


Leave a comment

Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


National Novel Writing Month

Happy Post Halloween!

And this entry is a quick aside from the TED Talks that I love to scour over.

It’s November and that means it’s also Movember.  (Note: I had covered a TED Talk about this topic last year at this time)  However, there is also another project that I (hopelessly) try to follow in November as well.   It’s called NANOWRIMO, aka National Novel Writing Month (Isn’t that clever?)

Writing in itself is an art form, and like any skill, it requires practice.  Lots of practice. 

Now a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I had been drafted by a friend to write a humor column during university.  It was about as useful as nips on a bull but the work itself was enjoyable.  Moreover, it helped perpetuate that dream of writing a book. 

(I admit, I followed through after graduating and ended up writing a book.  A pretty crappy book. 

*Looks at calendar*  Holy crap, it was TEN years ago!?!  How the hell did that happen.   I was young and it showed in the writing.)

If there was anything that this showed me most, is that writing takes TIME.  (Now this post is quickly becoming guilty of the ‘humble brag’ so I’ll just summarize that I was also working a full time job too.  Problem is, the additional distraction impacted how much MORE time it took to complete it)

This is a reason why the idea of nanowrimo is so appealing.  The challenge of writing a novel (50,000 words!) in ONE month, is that mental excuse to put aside distractions, skip the black and white social ball, put aside the Playstation controller and just focus to do ONE thing.  Write a novel!


Look up more about Nanowrimo here:


Have you ever desired to write a novel?   This could be the month that you do. 


– ED

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized