I grew up in my career within the Alaska Tribal Health System. It is a system that is internationally renowned in its statewide governance and decision-making. It also suffers from stigmatism by not carrying that governance and decision-making to the regional entities that provide actual patient care. As such, statistics have not been impressive when it comes to “people outcomes”.
I believe that this conundrum has layers. One being the buzz word of ‘baseline measures’ versus the mission/vision statements that oppose the traditional baseline measurements of data – which include “to be the healthiest people in the world”.
There is a basic disconnect when the vision is to be the “healthiest people in the world” and the data being analyzed is a baseline that looks internally.
Considering our baseline data is undisputed that we have the highest rates of about every health disparagement and social dysfunction – does that not seem like the most hopeless place to measure – and worse – the most hopeless of statistics to be advertising and touting as an advocacy tool for money?
I believe that if the measurement tool was seeking out the data sets of the actual healthiest people of the world and comparing ourselves toward that as a goal, then us as the unhealthiest would be given a goal to work toward, compete for, and want to win.
The fact is ‘baseline’ measurement is just a depressant that offers no hope, and never displays any tangible goal to reach for.
As leaders, how can we expect victory – which is witnessing our people, families, and communities thrive – when all we give them is the dismal current state?
Leaders must lead. Leaders need to communicate hope and back it up with data that measure progress against who is winning – especially when we are the baseline of all measurements.
Do better. All of us can and need to. After all, our lives depend on it.