Coalition Building

12/31/2018 11:32 AM | Anonymous


I have often been identified by people as being a physician, to which I generally respond saying, "Well, I'm not a physician, but I've played one on TV." At that point, I can tell if they grew up watching Marcus Welby MD or not. Regardless, I am like many physicians who are often prone to jumping very quickly into diagnostician mode whenever they see a problem: mentally you run through symptoms and observations, identifying potential solutions and make your assessment. Then you define a treatment that has the best chance at success. Take two and call me in the morning, right?

But, in recent years many physicians are learning how to more fully involve their patients in decision making and finding it is a more powerful form of practicing medicine. This is especially true when a patient needs to make lifestyle changes that will enhance their health. Setting aside your differential diagnostician and voice of authority and eliciting their personal motivations and goals can be a challenge for many physicians (and certainly isn't appropriate for every situation.)

So you might understand ACMS' challenge in facilitating a collaborative process that has many stakeholders and interested parties affected. Right now, I am just getting started on building a "Capital Coalition for Physician Well-being." We are at a place in our medical community where the collaborative intent around shaping a better healthcare culture is very high.

But this isn't just as easy as saying, "What's the problem? What are potential solutions? Let's get to work." Collaborative problem solving is much more complicated, needing a high degree of trust and patience as each party shares their perspectives, negotiates towards agreed upon solutions, and then gets to work, each on their own and in parallel with the others.

In our situation, this is further complicated by the fact that ACMS has no control over what participating physician groups or health systems may choose to accept or reject as potential solutions. I am not the fallback CEO who says "you all will do this if we can't agree to a plan of action." It is either completely collaborative, or nothing moves forward.

I do have high hopes, however, mostly because of what I've seen emerge out of partnerships over the past 3 years as well as who I've seen emerge. Physician leaders from many different levels of health systems, educational institutions and solo practices are ready to roll up their sleeves and say, "Not just for my workplace, but for the good of all the doctors in town we're ready to get to work, together!"

With that, we start 2019 with great anticipation of what is possible, not because it is easy, but because of the hearts of those who care for their colleagues in this noble profession.

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