We’re not just health care wonks, we’re also hockey fans!

Last night the Bruins won the Stanley cup. Our boys got out there, with a two game deficit, and came back to clinch the title in a nail biting 4-3 series. How did they do it? Two ways: they focused on quality, not quantity. And they had great teamwork. And we’re happy to hitch on to the Bruins victory to make our points about health policy.

If you think about it (or maybe if you don’t think too hard about it), this is a lot like our health care system.

Quality not Quantity. Yesterday, the Canucks outshot the Bruins 37 to 20. But even though the Canucks nearly doubled the Bruins on shots, the Bruins outscored the Canucks 4-0.

Duplicating tests and racking up procedures doesn’t win better health. Patient participation in decision making can make all the difference in improving quality.

Teamwork. The Bruins didn’t have Hart trophy players or an Olympic gold-medal goalie – but they had an extraordinary team together. Working together, they had the best quality team in the NHL.

Remember Mary Sanborn from Scituate? Her doctors were not a team. In fact, she was taking 15 different conflicting medications from lots of different doctors and her health deteriorated as the medications battled in her body. Her pharmacist ultimately determined that the different medications were harming Mary.

Eris Burton from South Boston did have a team of doctors with her community health worker and the Doctors at Codman Square Health Center. Eris has Type II Diabetes and last year she had to make a choice. If her blood sugar did not come down, she would have to start taking insulin shots. Through Codman Square Health Center, Eris was paired with community health worker, Grace Moore, to manage her diet and lifestyle. They meet once a week and set weekly goals to strategize how to keep her sugar down. Grace talks with Eris’ doctors regularly. Now THAT is what I would call team work. Kind of like the Bruins. Sort of.

Quality care can save lives and reduce wasteful health care spending in follow up correctional procedures.

Stretching it? Yeah, OK. But anyway, congratulations to the Bruins – and let’s fight for quality over quantity and good teamwork throughout our healthcare system.

-Celia Segel & Ari Fertig

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