The Balance of Assumptions


Whether you are just starting out in the system or have spent 40 years working towards health care transformation, I invite you to join Cambia Grove in challenging your assumptions of our health care system. But first, an anecdote on how I recently had to challenge my own assumptions.

This week, we added a new member to our team (welcome, Julie!). As we prepared for her first day, our IT department worked late Thursday night to set up her work station. But when I came in on Friday, I found equipment that I didn’t recognize.

I was frustrated. Where was the equipment that I used for my own computer? Onboarding a new hire takes time and this was the last step before we saw Julie on Monday. After speaking with the IT department, they let me know that they assumed that Julie wouldn’t want the old, clunky docking station for her laptop. Instead, they gave her a new, simple cord that plugged straight into her computer—ultimately, a better system.

Assumptions are powerful. Assumptions can help drive progress. The work we do at the Cambia Grove is powered by the assumption that we, as a community, can take the necessary steps to transform our health care system to be better for people. We assume that by building a community of health care changemakers, and then focusing our efforts on systemwide barriers, we will collectively have the power to make large-scale, system wide changes. I, along with the team at Cambia Grove, truly believe this assumption to be true.  

But assumptions can also be dangerous. Assumptions can be the enemy of progress. When we assume that we already know where a stakeholder stands on an issue, we tend not to ask or engage when our assumption may be wrong. When we assume that we already know the health care system, that we are experts, we tend to miss a key economic or cultural element that can help in transforming our system.

The Cambia Grove’s 5 Points of Health Care Conference is built on the notion of breaking down our health care system verticals and testing assumptions that we hold as individuals and as a community. During the conference series, we will be asking two questions:

  1. How is the system designed to work?
  2. How does the system actually work?

For those who are new to the health care space, it will be a primer on how the system is structured. But we hope that for everyone, from fresh faces to seasoned professionals, it will also serve as a gut check to understand where each vertical, each “point,” can contribute to health care transformation.

Our first event on January 30 was a big success in starting that dialogue. We hope you join us for the rest of our 5 Points of Health Care Conference series as we test our assumptions of how the system actually works. Each of the next five events will take a deep dive into one of the five points: providers, payors, patients, policy makers, and purchasers. (View our full calendar of events for more info).

Our IT department works extremely hard to keep us running and I am thankful to have them as partners. I see them working late nights, trekking all over the building, reminding people that their computers needs to be turned “on” before it will work. No one ever calls the IT department to let them know that their computer is working well. It is a thankless job, and I can’t thank them enough for their work.

Their assumption in setting up the new docking station was rooted in doing what they thought was going to be best for a new employee. I appreciate their foresight. And for the record, they were right. 


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