Being Intentionally Aware of Our Impact on Patients

In healthcare, we often say that the patient is the focus, or center, of our organization. I think that we really mean it from an intellectual standpoint, but do we from an emotional standpoint?

Behavioral research shows that our emotions are the strongest drivers of our decisions. Given that, how many decisions do we make around the focus of our work environments, workflows, schedules, etc. based on our emotions rather than from our conscious thought.

For example, I recently worked with an organization that had to ask a physician to remove some nicely done taxidermy of water-foul from his office surgical suite.

A patient, who is a very strong animal rights activist, complained.

The surgeon had made the decorative decision based upon his emotions: about what he likes in his surroundings, without thinking about its impact on the broad range of patients that enter his clinic.

This is not meant to spark a debate on animal rights, but to illustrate my point: all too often our workflows, schedules, and decisions are made for the providers’ benefit, not the patients’.

As we move ever so steadily and more rapidly toward a value-driven, consumer-driven system; we must be more intentionally aware of the decisions that we make and how they impact our patients.

Brent Wallace
About the author

Brent E. Wallace, M.D. is a seasoned physician leader, having been the Chief Medical Officer of Intermountain Healthcare for 12 years. Read More by Brent Learn More About Brent
Begin the Conversation
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.