A colleague of mine recently shared this TED talk with me by Malcom Gladwell: On Spaghetti Sauce.

spaghetti sauce

While the focus is on food and development of multiple lines of spaghetti sauce, mustard or pickles, it isn’t too hard to make a leap to treating people in the healthcare system. There is no perfect patient or inperfect patient but all people align across a horizontal spectrum and along this spectrum clusters begin to emerge.

What is interesting to me is the idea that while I believe that each person is unique in their healthcare needs, there are clusters of people along a horizontal continuum. The problem we have today is we do not ask patients questions to access their placement along a continuum; but instead, we ask questions to place them into a “box.” The more we ask patients relevant questions, the better we can understand clusters – and the better and healthier patients have the potential to be.