When you’re on the battlefield and you can’t see what lies ahead, go high, recommended General Von Clausewitz in his book, On War.

I paraphrase this prescription from the good General-strategist’s book, On War —

War is the realm of uncertainty; three-quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.”

Governor Mark Leavitt, who held the post of Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bush, offered this advice at the recent Liberation 2018 conference hosted by Medecision. I had the honor and delight of “emceeing” the event, giving a talk about new consumers in the post-Amazon Prime era, and trend-weaving the speakers’ sessions and panels into lessons for attendees.

In summoning the wisdom of Von Clausewitz, Gov. Leavitt was discussing the unsustainable economic model for U.S. healthcare, spending too much resource and achieving sub-optimal outcomes. We must seek a higher plane to get a clearer view of what’s possible, he urged.

In the chapter “Command on Ground,” the General gets quite specific on the benefits of moving to “elevated ground:

“Through the advantage of a better view of the surrounding country, an elevated position confers, in a certain measure, on the offensive as well as the defensive, a power of action which we must not omit to notice; it is the facility of operating with separate masses….We can venture to take up a position with less danger than we could if it had not that particular property of being on an elevation.”

I interpret this to mean that, in gaining perspective from “elevated ground,” we can both manage risk (the defensive play in Von Clausewitz’s strategic thinking) as well as operating with “separate masses” on multiple fronts (in the offensive strategy).

I summarize the lessons learned from Governor Leavitt, along with insights from Tan Le, Dr. Andrew Chacko, and Dr. Donald Rucker in this third of my three posts served up on the Medecision blog site here.

Please visit the post to be inspired by the good Governor, along with other speakers who certainly led to lightbulb moments for all of us who want to help make healthcare better.

For your further reading and experience of this wonderful conference, here are links to the previous two posts in this trio on Liberation 2018…

Part 1: Liberating Healthcare Through Data Liquidity and Consumer Engagement, published 12 April 2018

Part 2: Design to Liberate Healthcare, published 19 April, 2018.