Quo Vadimus (“Where are we going?”) – Parkland Hospital tries to Right the Ship

Dana and the Stranger

The Stranger (Calvin Trager): 
Dana, I’m what the world considers to be a phenomenally succesful man, and I’ve failed much more than I’ve succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, “Where are we going?” And it starts to get better…

I don’t even know what the hell Quo Vadimus means.
It means “Where are we going?”
(from the final episode of Sports Night.  Calvin Trager buys Continental Corp, decides to keep Sports Night on the air — and then, alas, the show was cancelled.  Quo Vadimus was the name of the fictional company founded by the “stranger.”  Aaron Sorkin at his very best!)


What is wrong?

What will we do to fix it?

These are two important questions to ask – to always ask, and keep asking, continually.

I was reminded of these from a letter included in the February 20, 2012 Parkland Now newsletter, written by Tom Royer, MD, Interim CEO of Parkland Hospital in Dallas:  Closing the Gap:  Part II of our CMS journey.  (from the physical copy of the newsletter; I could not find it on-line).

Things are not good at Parkland.  Safety and quality have slipped – – badly.  So, Dr. Royer is addressing the troops, and he includes these thoughts:

We must continue our efforts to implement every improvement plan and monitor them until they are hardwired into our clinical operations… (He refers to) a “gap analysis” identifying the gap for the challenges we have not fully addressed between “where we are” and “where we need to be” to assure we are guaranteeing a high quality and safe encounter for each patient. 

His entire letter is a pretty good example of a call to the troops with thoughts like:   “things are not what they need to be; we’ve got our work cut out for us, and we need everyone – every one! – to step up and do his/her part to close every gap, for every patient, every hour of every day.”

And if you study the history of Parkland, you know that they have had some golden years.  What happened?  Slippage happened.  And slipping back, slipping behind, slipping in general, is so very easy to do, and so very easy to “miss.”

And, I’m pretty sure that every company or organization (yes, that means your organization, and mine!), has some gap analysis to perform.

Is anything wrong?  What is wrong?  What will we do to fix it?

And, most of all, where are we going?

The organizations that answer these questions well, and constantly, will have better futures than those who wait too long before they notice the slippage, and the oh-so-costly consequences of such slippage.

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