Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What I Believe

A personal mission statement. It’s not easy, but the end result has been very powerful for me. In the process, I was able to define what’s important to me – and what isn’t. It applies to my family, friends, professional colleagues, and the counter help at Dairy Queen. Without it, it’s too easy to wander down the wrong career path or spend time on unproductive leisure activities. It takes courage to share this on the Internet, but I made a promise a couple of blogs ago:

I’m an artist, architect, and healer.
As an artist, my medium is people and relationships, showing reverence toward the unique skills and spirituality of every person in my life.
As an architect, I use discipline and love to the guide the creative process that builds rock solid change from the status quo.
As a healer, it is my sacred duty to find the calm, peaceful center of conflict, and help others find connection and common ground.
The quality of my work is measured by the achievements and attitudes of the people I serve.

I worked with an executive coach with very special expertise in language and expression. It took a couple of days to develop this, picking out relevant words from an exhaustive list. It was interesting what types of words had meaning for me, and which didn’t. Every person is different. Now I know that if I ever meet Warren Buffett at Dairy Queen, and he asks me what matters in my life – I’ve got an answer.

Drawing Inspiration from Hospitalists

The Society of Hospital Medicine concluded a very exciting, high energy meeting last weekend in Chicago. A major focus was improving quality, safety, and reliability on a system level through the key roles that hospitalists play at the center of hospital care. The passion that these young physicians have for making a difference in their own hospitals, and sharing those improvements far and wide with their colleagues across the country, is remarkable!

No one told these physicians that they must do this, and no one is paying them to do it. They’re engaged in these activities because of the best motive of all: an internal desire to be involved with innovation, improvement, and learning from clinical colleagues.

Heading to the National Patient Safety Foundation’s Annual Congress this week. I'm also in conversations with leaders of The Joint Commission last week in Chicago on the topic of how to engage medical staffs at academic centers, community hospitals, and group practices in quality and safety improvement is a common thread. No one has found the answer yet.

Will the emerging work on the impact of diagnostic error, coupled with the engineering science of high reliability, create curiosity and a desire to learn more about becoming a better physician? Are we aware that how we communicate and lead our clinical teams has an impact on patient safety? How can we spread the hospitalists’ enthusiasm and action to improve health care?