I have been connected to Tom Dahlborg on Facebook and LinkedIn for the past few months and have found his posts thought-provoking and in line with many things that I see as distressing in our healthcare system. In one of our email discussions, I learned he recently wrote a book titled: From Heart To Head & Back Again: a journey through the healthcare system. I asked Tom to send me a copy so I could review and share with readers of Nurse Advocate as it sounded interesting and timely.
When the book arrived, I was surprised at the size of the book. It reminded me of a textbook that I had in my master’s program. As I dove into the book, I found it to be an interesting journey of the healthcare system through the eyes of a healthcare leader doing his job to help organizations address the challenges they face as they try to balance cost, quality and meet the needs of the people they serve.
The book is a provocative work that is part manifesto, part autobiography, and part teaching manual. The book offers a transparent view into transformative conversations with quality improvement teams, organizational leaders, and front-line staff. The book is also a personal look into the life of someone whose role is to disrupt systems as part of improving them and the stress it takes on the person leading the charge. Personal conversations with Tom’s wife, his children, and himself reflect the pressures he felt as part of his role. The book also gave insight into his journey as a seriously ill patient who depended on the system to care for him when he was at his most vulnerable point.
The book gives readers a chance to see what is needed transform a system from one that is fragmented, complex and at times unsafe to a system that is patient-centered and can provide care to meet the needs of patients while reducing costs, improving outcomes by bringing teams together in a coordinated manner.
What I found helpful was at the end of each chapter were reflections that helped to focus the message. In addition, some questions were provided to stimulate discussion to help us understand the roles we all play and how we all are part of the solutions to transform the healthcare system.
I would like to see this book be used by Quality Departments, Case Management Departments, Patient and Family Councils, and other healthcare team members who are taking a critical look at where we work and how we can do better.
The book is a call to action for all of us to recognize the challenges, barriers, and issues that impact how we deliver care.
Pick up a copy for yourself and share it with your organization. It is worth the investment!
Thanks for reading!