“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple…that’s creativity.” — Charles Mingus
When was the last time you thought, “Wow, that was simple!”?
If you’re anything like most humans, you’ll have a hard time coming up with a recent example. Reminders of how complicated our world has become are everywhere:
- Credit card agreements average over 100 pages.
- Tech devices (think remote controls) have thousands of features, even though most people use less than 10.
- Home insurance policies cost hundreds of dollars, but we’re often not sure what’s covered.
- The current U.S. tax code is over 14,000 pages long.
- ICD-9 codes (a topic our customers know well) number over 14,000…and the ICD-10 system will have more than 68,000!
It just seems inevitable that our world gets increasingly complex and we must learn to live with it. But did you ever stop to marvel at the fact that our country was founded based on a document only six pages long? Does life – and the business of long-term care – have to be so complicated?
A recent business book entitled “Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity” takes a look at why companies often operate in an overly complex way, and suggests ways to simplify in order to improve both the customer experience and the bottom line.
The authors have a three-part formula for simplifying almost anything: empathize, distill and clarify. As I read, I couldn’t help comparing SimpleLTC to their model. Based on their three criteria, here are a few thoughts on how SimpleLTC stacks up.
You can’t help customers if you don’t understand their problems and put yourself in their shoes as they face them. At SimpleLTC, we get most of our product ideas from customers. You tell us what’s complicated — MDS transmission, report analysis, document compliance, data management, etc. — and we look for simpler ways to meet those needs. We also ask customers to test new features before we roll them out, to make sure the products stay simple and usable.
Like overly complicated remote controls, long-term care data can be overwhelming. Too many numbers, with too little context, and suddenly all that data is meaningless. Information has to be curated and edited in order to be useful. Our goal is always to create simple views that distill the data down to just what you need to make immediate decisions, while giving you the option to dig deeper when needed.
This last step is possibly the most difficult. Once information is distilled down to bare essentials, it has to be clear. It’s no good to you if it’s ambiguous or easily misunderstood. At SimpleLTC, we strive to create interfaces and workflows that are clear, easy to follow and in plain language. It’s a never-ending process when you’re trying to clarify complex things, but this is a goal we won’t lose sight of.
Does SimpleLTC hit these three marks perfectly? Of course not. The goals are simple to say, but difficult to achieve. But we’ll keep working with our customers to get as close as we can.
Keeping it simple is the key.