Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Do We Need A Success Drill?

Our grade school had a principal who knew the right way to hold a fire drill.
  • Procedures were clear
  • Drills were always a surprise
  • They happened randomly throughout the year
  • People moved quickly and quietly
  • At the end of each drill, the process was evaluated and improved with input from students, teachers, the principal, and the fire prevention officer
She was the ultimate Six Sigma Black Belt before anybody ever heard of Six Sigma.

It was only when I got to high school and college and the world of office buildings and hotels that I appreciated the effectiveness and value of Sister Mary Vigil's fire drills.  Theatrical drills that are staged don't really condition you for the real fire, and they certainly don't provide the information that you need to make the traffic patterns better or to remove obstacles from the paths.  Practice trumps theory when it comes to human motion.

How will human motion work when there is finally some success against ALS in a lab or clinic setting?  Do we have some continuous evaluation and improvement of the paths and barriers between a scientific success and our patients?  Isn't it smart to fix some doors and sidewalks and roads before we discover that they are blocking the evacuation from the world of ALS?

Lots of organizations talk about their plans and leading the way, but we need to see the practical process for a successful treatment. We need to walk down the fire escape to see what is confusing or blocking the way so that we can fix the path now.  Removing those barriers will involve a lot of people and organizations, but the time to face them is before the fire.  Just as some businesses or hotels never expected the big fire and didn't have effective processes in place for people to get out, is the ALS cause one that has never prepared sufficiently for the surprise of a successful treatment?

Do we really know what is on the other side of this door?

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