Dr. Michael Wilkes writes a great editorial.
“What is the role of a doctor?”
Starting right now, what do you want from your doctor?
Dr. Wilkes provides a few suggestions from an audience he recently spoke to:
- Knows me and my family.
- Is a good listener.
- I can reach when I get sick – even on weekends.
- Is working for me – not an insurance company or a hospital.
- Treats me with dignity and respect.
- Won’t go home because their shift is over with my problem still unresolved.
- Explains things so I can understand them.
Dr. Wilkes was struck by something that wasn’t on the list, “No one – not a single person – said they wanted the smartest doctor or a doctor who was an expert at medicine.”
Anyway his point: asking (and answering!) this question delivers two things: 1) insight on how to retool medical education and 2) information we can use to measure performance.
Two extremely relevant and important things. But I don’t think we should stop there. What do nurses expect from physicians? How about hospitals? Other relevant stakeholders?
And once that process has started we need to start asking questions about our hospital. What do patients want from the hospital? What does the community want from the hospital? What do providers expect from the hospital?
And we won’t stop there. Questions will be asked about, and of, all providers. Processes will be questioned. Governing bodies will be questioned. The analyses will continue until all have been analyzed and the questions have been answered.
These discussions, though time consuming (this is the greatness of being a virtual system), will lay out expectations from the start. These discussions will allow us to deliver the best care possible. Our expectations of each other will be on the table allowing us to focus on what matters most: patient care.
Principle #4: Asking questions not only promotes learning, it encourages discussion. We will ask questions from the beginning. And not stop. Incessant questions = incessant improvement!