At this point, you’ve reached the end of Understanding Healthcare Delivery Science, and the obvious question is “Now what?” How do you begin to make this real so that it affects your work and improves the care that you give your patients? How do you scale your healthcare delivery science work so that it has an impact beyond your particular patients, beginning to affect all the patients in your institution, or even beyond? This can happen in at least a few ways: in your own work, in your interactions with others, and even by changing your health system, if you’re a healthcare leader. Another important approach is by building a national and international community of healthcare delivery scientists.
The purpose of this chapter is to give some practical strategies for accomplishing this, so you can begin to embed healthcare delivery science into your health system. We first start with the question of how to join (or build) a community of healthcare delivery science. We then turn to the question of how to embed healthcare delivery science into your health system. How you do this depends on your context. Perhaps you’re a medical student or a resident, considering this as a career. Maybe you’re done with training, and you’re working in a health system as a frontline nurse, physician, or other provider, or you’ve just taken your first job in healthcare administration. On the other hand, you may be even further along in your career, with a significant leadership position in your health system. In each of these cases, you have opportunities to help embed healthcare delivery science into your health system.
HOW DO I JOIN (OR BUILD) A COMMUNITY OF HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SCIENCE?
Being part of a community helps all of us grow, succeed, feel welcomed, and thrive. Regardless of whether you are just starting off in healthcare or are a senior leader in a health system, we all need a community. Because healthcare delivery science is a still-emerging field, however, finding this community can require some effort. In particular, those working on healthcare delivery science tend to be bridging leaders between healthcare operations and healthcare research. David Brooks wrote an article in The New York Times with the headline “At the Edge of Inside,” which focused on exactly this issue. Although Brooks was writing about the political landscape, his words describe the challenges of healthcare delivery science, too. You should read his whole article, but a particularly relevant passage is:1
In any organization there are some people who serve at the core. These insiders are in the rooms when the decisions are made…. Then there are outsiders. They throw missiles from beyond the walls. They are untouched by internal loyalties … But there’s also a third position in any organization: those who are at the edge of the inside. These people are within the organization, but ...