A Nice Business

Over Labor Day weekend my kids and I took off for an overnight hiking trip to Ingalls Creek, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness just south of Leavenworth. After one of the most arid summers in Washington history, we managed to pick the one weekend where it rained like nobody's business. We got well and truly soaked.

A bit of proud papa here, so forgive me for a second. My kids pick at each other just like all brothers and sisters do. But beneath all that, they are growing up to be super-nice people. When Alex was getting cold and miserable on the trail, Connor quietly guided us into camp just a little bit early so she could sit down. Later that evening when Connor was starting to shiver, Alex put her arm around him and distracted him with questions about his new class at school while I got a fire started.

This stuff is important to me - the world is too often an angry place, and I appreciate it when folks demonstrate that they care about the people around them. This is the same thing makes health a really nice business to be in.

For example --- I spend a lot of time working with people from Seattle Children's Hospital. Most of our meetings take place away from the actual hospital, but occasionally we end up there for one reason or another. It is remarkable to watch how every Seakids employee acts when they're there - if we're in an elevator and a patient needs to get in, we get out mid-ride and take the stairs the rest of the way. If a patient asks a question, everything stops. It's really impressive.  

Another example --- we just hired a new architect on the team; a super-smart guy who has been in healthcare IT for a long time. I've watched him in meetings a few times when silly arguments start back and forth. He just pulls out the big gun: "Does this help doctors fix sick kids? Yes or no? That's why we're here."

What I've learned over the last few years is, almost everybody who works in health does so because they care and they want to make things better. We all pick at each other sometimes (I'm sure there are some Microsoft folks laughing at the irony of me talking about being nice), but at the end of the day, knowing why we're here makes up for a whole lot of frustration.

Hope you all had a great Labor Day as well.

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