St. Luke's Treasure Valley VP Medical Affairs Dr. Frank Johnson and Saint Alphonsus Physician Resilience Medical Director Dr. Sheila Giffen, during a joint Peer-to-Peer training session.
by Steven Reames
Let's look at some of our local health institutions' mission and purpose statements starting with the shortest:
- Saltzer Medical Group: "To serve our patients in a manner worthy of their trust."
- St. Luke's Health System: "To improve the health of people in the communities we serve."
- Primary Health Medical Group: "Committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care that is both convenient and comprehensive.
- Saint Alphonsus Health System: "We serve together in the spirit of the Gospel as a compassionate and transforming healing presence within our communities."
- Family Medicine Health Center: "Train outstanding broad-spectrum family medicine physicians to work in underserved and rural areas. Serve the vulnerable populations in Idaho with high quality, affordable care provided in a collaborative work environment."
- Idaho Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: "To improve the lives of the functionally impaired. IPMR strives to provide a working environment that enhances the potential of its employees by encouraging mutual respect, job satisfaction, professional development and positive interpersonal relationships."
Some of these are short and directly to the point; others make an effort not just to talk about their purpose, but also some of the values and modus operandi important to them.
I also reflect on our own mission statement from time to time, which frankly looks like 75% of other general medical societies who modeled there's after the AMA's:
"The purposes of this Society are to promote the science and art of medicine, the protection of the public health, the betterment of the medical profession and to unite with similar organizations in other counties of the State of Idaho to form the Idaho Medical Association."
What is different about it than most healthcare organizations is the last phrase about "uniting with similar organizations" as a goal, not just a mode of operation. While it may be unique to being a "component society" of the state medical association, I also think there's an attitude of collaboration there that truly defines how we think here in the Treasure Valley.
To truly fulfill our missions, we must join with other like-minded people and organizations.
In fact, I wonder how it would change our healthcare institutions if they all added "with the greater medical community" to their mission statements and acted on it.
This fall, Mayo Clinic's Colin West, MD, MPH, a leading researcher on physician burnout, spoke in Boise at two separate back-to-back events. In the first, he very subtly threw down the gauntlet to physicians and administrators saying:
"I really believe that there's a gap that can be filled by those first adopter groups that actually reveal a competitive advantage when they successfully attack these issues (around physician burnout) … Nobody in the country is thinking about it that way systematically. So, there's a gap there and if somebody jumps into that breach, they're going to reap the benefit of that."*
Two days later, he led a workshop on actionable next steps physicians can take towards enhancing their workplaces. One of our hospital system execs stood up and threw down his own gauntlet saying, "I think we need to stake a claim that Idaho is NOT going to be the 50th state in provider wellness." (He was referring to Medscape's 2018 report that ranks Idaho #1 in physician burnout.)
These conversations raise the possibility from trying to address clinician distress at the micro level and aiming instead at the macro factors that drive it, and not just at the employer's level. To this end, ACMS is now gearing up to charter a coalition that would focus efforts across the medical community on tackling the largest contributors to burnout. We believe that by shooting at the same target together, we have a better chance at reshaping our community's medical culture in a way that supports the vitality of our caregivers for generations to come.