An Open Place

Dr. Beverly Kaye, had shared her “5 P’s of Development” at a recent ASTD National conference for Chapter Leaders. They’re over there to the right.

We considered the first “P,” “Place,” in yesterday’s post. The question asked: “What one trend or change will impact the way I do my work?” The take-away she provided: It’s not enough to know your job. It’s equally important to know your organization, your industry, and your profession.

  • Place
  • Person
  • Perspective
  • Possibilities
  • Plan

An example of people questioning “Place” in their development comes from the November issue of the Harvard Business Review.  Their article “Community Relations 2.0” discusses the utilization of social media to create online communities that deepen relationships, organize people, synthesize knowledge, and filter information.   When discussing the ability of online communities to gather information from disparate sources into meaningful data, the article focuses on the growing ALS population and their usage of the site: PatientsLikeMe.

Medical knowledge tends to progress slowly, acknowledges authors Gerald C. Kane, Robert G. Fichman, John Gallaugher, and John Glaser.  They conduct studies that take years.  They publish their results in white papers.  Results are refuted by other doctors conducting other year-long studies.  For the patient, this process can seem like swimming through Jell-o — full of sugary hope, but tough to slog through.

PatientsLikeMe asks:  “Do you have a life-changing condition?”  (There’s that word: life-changing.)  “Learn from the real-world experiences of people just like you.”  Their philosophy? All about openness.  “We believe sharing your healthcare experiences and outcomes is good.”

This is quite different from hospitals where privacy laws ensure that each interaction is focused on the patient, and from research facilities where proprietary tactics shut the door on open discussion.  There, the focus is insular.  For PatientsLikeMe, the focus is broad, sweeping.  There is no focus — there are open minds and open eyes.

Nervous SystemThe concept is simple.  The patients share their stories, their insights, their feelings. They document their health, their symptoms, their moods.  They create a community for anyone wishing to analyze his/her place to do so.  And they, in turn, learn from others just like them.

It’s an empowering site.  There’s the man who reviewed research that supported his belief that he was not getting enough medication to treat his condition.  He shared it with his doctor, who reviewed the data, concurred, and upped the man’s dosage, thereby improving his quality of life.

There’s the community of ALS patients who shortened the length of a study from years to months. From the article Community Relations 2.0: “The site has aggregated patient-reported data heretofore inaccessible to the general public.  Community members even band together for sophisticated research efforts.  Inspired by a report suggesting that lithium may benefit ALS sufferers, members recently launched what PatientsLikeMe cofounder Jamie Heywood describes as ‘the first real-time, real-world open  and non-blinded, patient driven trial.’ ”

Say it with me.  Wow.

These people believe that it’s not enough to stoically know how only their lives are going.  In order to move out of the place that they’re in, they actively seek to learn what’s going on in the medical industry and the community of people just like them.  They’ve identified not only their Place, but also where they’re going.

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One thought on “An Open Place

  1. […] by the way, is one example of how Sesame Street analyzes the Place in which they live.  The neighborhood may be the same, but when that furry little red monster moved in, Sesame Street […]

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