Time Management for Physician Leaders—Accomplish More of Your Goals

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM
January 10, 2018

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else“
Peter F. Drucker

Physicians have a crucial role to play leading health care transformation. The problem is that there is no end to competing interests vying for our time. Most of us respond to increasing demands by putting in longer hours—which inevitably takes a toll on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Soon, all of our time becomes consumed by busywork, and we miss opportunities to realize our vision and make a lasting and meaningful impact as leaders. This ultimately leads to frustration and a lack of fulfillment. Fortunately, steps can be taken to be more effective with time: Continue reading “Time Management for Physician Leaders—Accomplish More of Your Goals”

The Science of Health Care Improvement: Overcoming Unintended Variation

By Ted James
November 29, 2018

“Uncontrolled variation is the enemy of quality.”
– Edwards Deming

Widespread variations in clinical practice that cannot be explained by differences in medical condition or patient preference are routinely observed across multiple specialties and clinical settings. The problem with unexplained variation in health care is that it negatively impacts clinical outcomes, increases the cost of care, and diminishes value for our patients. Continue reading “The Science of Health Care Improvement: Overcoming Unintended Variation”

The Future of Patient Engagement in the Digital Age

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
October 10, 2018

We live in a digital age of information and innovation, where technological advances continue to make accessibility and independence the norm. Health care, however, has a peculiar relationship with technology. Although we have experienced life-changing advances in medical science, health care delivery systems often fail to meet today’s expectations of convenience, transparency, and choice. Most other industries are far ahead of health care when it comes to engaging with the people they serve (e.g., Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, etc.). As a result, people are less willing to accept the delays, inconvenience, and lack of control traditionally experienced in health care. We are unlikely to succeed in achieving high-value care (i.e., greater quality, lower cost) unless our health care systems can factor patient engagement into the equation. A digital health revolution is coming, and those who prepare and are ready to adapt stand to reap the benefits. Continue reading “The Future of Patient Engagement in the Digital Age”

Do You Need an MBA to Be a Physician Leader?

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
September 6, 2018

…leadership skills, like any other type of skill, can be learned and improved…. More challenging, however, is the development of the personal attributes that are necessary for effective leadership.”

-Charanjit S. Rihal, MD
Chair, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic

Physicians as Administrative Leaders

Physicians possess a deep understanding of what is required to optimize the process of caring for people, and health care systems that are serious about transformation need to harness the power, talent, and creativity of clinicians as organizational leaders. Toward this end, a growing number of physicians are moving into executive leadership, and organizations are experiencing the benefit of having these physicians in key roles, providing input into what is best for patients and the organization as a whole. Continue reading “Do You Need an MBA to Be a Physician Leader?”

Setting the Stage: Why Health Care Needs a Culture of Respect

By Ted A James, MD
July 31, 2018

The Foundation of Respect

Respect is an essential component of a high-performance organization. It helps to create a healthy environment in which patients feel cared for as individuals, and members of health care teams are engaged, collaborative, and committed to service. Within a culture of respect, people perform better, are more innovative, and display greater resilience. On the contrary, a lack of respect stifles teamwork and undermines individual performance. It can also lead to poor interactions with patients. Cultivating a culture of respect can truly transform an organization and leaders set the stage for how respect is manifested. Continue reading “Setting the Stage: Why Health Care Needs a Culture of Respect”

Creating a High-Performance Health Care Organization

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM
June 28, 2018

“The goal in health care really needs to be zero preventable harm.”
—Lucien Leape

Modern health care has been described as one of the most complex industries in the world. Advances in biotechnology, data analytics, and genomic medicine alone have enabled greater capabilities and more sophisticated care than any other time in history. The problem with complexity is that human beings are imperfect and fallible, leading to the potential for medical error and fragmented care. With greater complexity comes a greater risk of failure, making it challenging to deliver on the promise of safe, reliable, and effective health care. Continue reading “Creating a High-Performance Health Care Organization”

Improving Health Outcomes by Healing Our Communities

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
May 31, 2018

The Paradox of U.S. Health Care

We are not as good as we should be. Despite incredible technological advances and high-levels of spending, compared to other countries, the U.S. health care system fails to achieve superior outcomes on many key health indicators including life expectancy, infant mortality, and preventable disease. Although we are capable of delivering some of the most exceptional care in the world, we do not do so reliably or in a well-coordinated manner. According to recent studies from the Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. tends to excel in doctor–patient relationships, wellness counseling, shared decision making, and chronic disease management. However, we operate in a system plagued with major disparities in access to primary care and gross social inequities. Innovations in our approach to health care are required in order to address these challenges and remove the barriers they present to providing reliable and sustainable care for all patients.  Continue reading “Improving Health Outcomes by Healing Our Communities”

Transforming the Patient Experience of Health Care

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
April 27, 2018

Leaders of health care organizations facing mounting administrative challenges and diminishing resources may question the importance of focusing on the patient experience of care. Improving patient interactions not only speaks to the inherent values of our profession in health care, but a growing body of evidence correlates improved patient experience with improved clinical outcomes and organizational performance, making patient experience a key strategic priority. I can also attest from my efforts developing patient-centered care models, as well as from my own journey as a patient, just how important the care experience is to overall well-being and satisfaction with treatment. Continue reading “Transforming the Patient Experience of Health Care”

Addressing Physician Burnout as a Health Care Systems Issue

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
March 29, 2018

Burnout is an all too common phenomenon that needs to be on the radar of all health care leaders. In addition to serious personal consequences, burnout poses a significant threat to patient care and negatively impacts organizational performance. Continue reading “Addressing Physician Burnout as a Health Care Systems Issue”

Advocating for Societal Health: An Open Letter to Physicians

By Scott Shainker, DO, MS
& Toni Golen, MD

March 22, 2018

If each of us does something, the impact we will make on achieving health will have the greatest legacy on the well being of society.

Fellow physicians, how do you define health?

We don’t believe it is merely about controlling the blood pressure of a 60-year-old patient or removing the infected appendix of a college student; rather, we as physicians need to have a deeper definition of health. Continue reading “Advocating for Societal Health: An Open Letter to Physicians”