Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Antifragility: Patient Care

Disclaimer: The concept of anti fragility is a new one to me and while not completely through the book (Antifragile-Nassim Taleb) the concept is one I've wanted to explore and try my hand at applying to my life and in doing so trying to explain it while applying it to different things in my life.  Here is the first attempt (most likely to be modified later).

The book explains that we have a full definition of 'fragile' but there is no word for the opposite.  The author introduces the concept of 'antifragile' which we have defined out of a couple quotes below.

"Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.  The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.  The anti fragile loves randomness and uncertainty, which also means-crucially-a love of errors, a certain class of errors.  Antifragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them-and do them well."

How can this concept be applied to the practitioner (which is the focus of this post).  We can be resilient in our patient care by taking our hits if things don't go completely how we planned and we  continue on with our process and even potentially refer out.  We absorb the shock and we stay the same.  We approach every injury that seems to be the same with the same tools that we always use.  See the nail, use a hammer.  See the screw, give the hammer a try.  Obviously this ins't good for the care of the patient in the fact that every patient's issues and pain are unique to them.

This is where I think being 'antifragile' in your patient care is not only a win for the patient but a win for you, the practitioner.  If we look at the definition above we want the randomness and the uncertainty and the errors that come along wit that.  This is where we can excel and absorb the shocks that we could just past by, we use them to get better.  If there is an 'error' in diagnosis or care we learn from it immediately or it forces us to adapt in real time.  We get stronger and both entities benefit.

By maintaining an open mind you can become antifragile and accept mistakes, adapt to them and get stronger both for you and your patient.  Don't put yourself in a corner and allow that to affect you and/or your patients.

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