Public Health and Healthcare


Lessons from the Art of War: How an Ancient Chinese Manuscript Can Help to Navigate the Future of Healthcare

Author(s): Hassana Barazi, Jessica Rubino, David Dawley, and Ikttesh Chahal

Our healthcare system is consistently failing to achieve its primary goal- to effectively and efficiently take care of the health and well-being of patients. Many say a key contributor to its failure is the inability of stakeholders to adapt to the system’s constant state of change. As our healthcare system continues to evolve at a very rapid rate, both physicians and administrators must adapt or risk dire consequences. To help all invested parties navigate these treacherous waters, we suggest a guide based on the lessons illustrated in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Various industries have successfully adapted this ancient Chinese text to direct their practices, but the text has yet to be applied to healthcare strategy in a meaningful way. This article is broken down into six practical lessons from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War that apply directly to the fluctuating environment in medicine. All levels of a healthcare organization can utilize these strategies to help effect change the industry desperately needs.

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