Celebrating the Wins

Not long ago I sent a congratulatory email to a friend who had just been elected to a new position in her national association.

She sent back a note thanking me for my email, and revealing that she was a bit disappointed that few of her professional colleagues had acknowledged her national appointment.

I imagine that many of them had seen the announcement and thought, ‘Wonderful – good for her!’ but just hadn’t taken the time to pick up the phone or drop a note. Doing that is probably still on their “to do list” somewhere. Everyone is pressed for time, and It’s easy to forget how important those little acknowledgments can be. 

A small number probably had less charitable thoughts, because some people simply can’t be happy about anyone else’s success.  My philosophy about that is to accept that there are a (very) few people who simply don’t have it in them to be happy for you, and move on.

Quint Studer poses this question in a recent blog post – How healthy is your organization?  His criteria for judging that is revealing:

A healthy organization feels good when others hit their goals.

When I meet with a large group, I make a point to recognize and compliment the successful directors on their specific results. I notice in a healthy organization everybody claps and is excited for the person recognized. If it’s unhealthy, the audience will half-heartedly applaud if the boss is clapping, but they possibly are thinking, “Well, let me tell you what I did better than that person. Or let that person try to run my department.” I always point out to the audience that healthy organizations feel good about the success of others
Go to Quint’s Blog

Beyond the organization, I believe that a genuine willingness to celebrate other people’s wins is a way to judge our own emotional health and maturity. It’s wonderful to be happy in our own success, but that happiness can be multiplied and experienced many times over by sharing it with others when they succeed as well.

Have you gotten a promotion, received a nice compliment at work, been assigned to an important committee?  Click on comments below and tell us about it.  We’re looking for reasons to celebrate!

Grand Rounds 3.10

Grand Rounds 3.10 is up at Notes from Dr. RW

I must admit I chuckled when I saw this reference to my submission:

Strutting too much of your stuff may turn heads but it lowers patients’ confidence. And that’s evidence based! Worse yet, the credentialers are watching how you dress. Just ask our favorite credentialer Rita over at MSSPNexus blog! Yikes!

Stop on over at RW’s place and check out this week’s best of the medical blogosphere. 


Medical Staff Credentiaing – the Aggravated perspective

Aggravated DocSurg has posted a thought-provking series of articles on the topic of medical staff credentialing over on his blog.  Our aggrieved friend effectively outlines, from a physician perspective,  many of the challenges facing those who work with credentialing, peer review, and quality monitoring.

Take time to read the posts; leave a comment if you so desire.  It’s an excellent topic for discussion.


Medical Staff Credentialing – Part the First

…By this time, however, (our hypothetical surgical resident) is a senior resident and the errors really aren’t felt
to be that bad, and
it’s really, really
to not graduate someone from residency……so off he goes, to the
real world.

The real world, mind you, is unsuspecting. Just as we expect that a new car will
always perform up to its advertising, we expect that a newly minted and trained
physician will be a widget that we can plug into a system and expect him to
function — flawlessly

Not every surgeon is fortunate enough to land in a position that provides him with the support and mentoring necessary
to ensure his eventual success…

Medical Staff Credentialing – II

…In any event, we have over the years established fairly rigid time frames for
producing practicing doctors — in the case of general surgeons, almost all
training programs are 5 years in length…  But ask any parent of a college-aged child and they will
regale you with stories of kids who take 4, 5, 6, etc. years to get a degree
—- not always out of laziness…

Medical Staff Credentialing – c’est finis

…Medicine is a complex field, with little uniformity in just about every area you
look into, but we all understand the need to ensure that quality care is
delivered….  It would be prudent for
anyone interested in trying to make (needed) changes to work one step at a time,
rather than trying to throw a Hail Mary pass…

Patient Safety – Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

It’s easy to pay lip service to patient safety – after all, who could be against it?  So states the October 23rd issue of the Modern Healthcare article, What Patient Safety Looks Like

Patient safety slogans have become a mantra in today’s healthcare environment.  But are our habits and culture really changing?  Are healthcare providers and industry leaders truly embracing safety, or are some simply embracing the latest buzz?

Actions speak louder than words. Much like the well-worn phrase employees are our greatest asset uttered by the business owner or manager whose actions reveal an altogether different attitude, those who speak but do not act fail to inspire trust.

The Modern Healthcare article goes on to state: An organization with a serious commitment to patient safety has a chief executive officer who embraces and champions safety.  In every interaction with members of his or her leadership team, as much attention is devoted to improving safety as to meeting financial goals. 

A significant amount of senior executives’ incentive compensation is linked to attaining specific, measurable organizational goals for safety improvement.  These goals are also reflected in incentive compensation plans and employee performance evaluation criteria for all relevant clinical staff, including employed or contracted physicians.

Violations of safety policies (for example not washing hands between patients) result in disciplinary action, repeated violations may even result in termination or loss of privileges.

For real change to occur, each of us must believe and act on the statement patient safety begins with me.


More Than Meets The Eye

A few years ago I signed up for some evening college courses at a local campus.  Arriving early for the first session for one of them, I stood in the hallway outside the locked classroom door and waited for the professor to arrive.  Before long there were several of us milling around. 

After a few minutes one of the students came over and began asking me questions about the course.  Since none of us had even met the professor yet I was a bit confused, wondering why this person thought I’d know the answers.

Ah, perhaps, I thought, I’ve said something witty and exceedingly intelligent that caused him to think I would be a font of useful information.  Nope.

Or, could it be he assumed I was just too …experienced… to be a college student. Nope, not that either.

Let’s go for what’s behind door number three.  I had come straight from work and was wearing a business suit.  A quick scan of my fellow students revealed a sea of jeans and tennis shoes. How about that, Mom was right, people do make judgments about you based on what you wear.   

Erin Marcus, M.D. writes about that very topic in yesterday’s New York Times – from a physician/patient perspective. Every day, it seems, I see a bit of midriff here, a plunging neckline there. Open-toed sandals, displaying brightly manicured toes, seem ubiquitous.

Patients and colleagues may dismiss a young doctor’s skills and knowledge or feel their concerns aren’t being taken seriously when the doctor is dressed in a manner more suitable for the gym or a night on the town. There are also hygiene considerations: open-toed shoes don’t protect against the spills that commonly occur in patient care, and long, flowing hair can potentially carry harmful bacteria.

A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association states, “Respondents overwhelmingly favor physicians in professional attire with a white coat. Wearing professional dress (ie, a white coat with more formal attire) while providing patient care by physicians may favorably influence trust and confidence-building in the medical encounter.”

So, what will you wear today?

When Young Doctors Strut Too Much of Their Stuff – New York Times

Effect of Doctor’s Attire on the Trust and Confidence of Patients – Journal of American Medicine via Science Direct

Broaden Your Perspective – Attend Industry Conferences

Vince Poscente has a unique perspective on industry conferences since he speaks at about 80 of them a year. (Some of you will remember that he was a keynote speaker at the 2005 NAMSS conference.)

In a recent article he stated: If you are not attending some industry meetings, odds are you’re not truly in the business. You don’t necessarily have to get involved on the board or committees, although that would be justifiable if you gain value. You don’t have to attend everything, although the more you explore, the more you get. You especially aren’t required to conform! The idea is that you allow yourself a broader perspective. Broader than your inner circle can provide.

Step up in your industry.

1. Step up to your local industry meetings. At the local level you will have a collection of colleagues at various levels of experience.

2. Step up to your state or provincial industry meetings. At the state or provincial level, association members (who make the effort to attend) are normally people who make things happen.

3. Step up to your national association meetings. The cream rises to the top. The networking, breakouts, keynotes, tradeshow suppliers and attendees are normally the pinnacle of what is available in your industry.

Since the NAMSS Conference Committee is currently hard at work planning our 2007 Annual Conference in New York City, we say, Hear hear!

Medical Credentialing – A Broken System

I was recently introduced to a Chief Medical Officer who opened our conversation with, “As far as I’m concerned the medical credentialing system in this country is broken.”

My response?  “You’ll get no argument out of me.”

In this age of global communication and technology why must we gather, validate, and store the same information on the same individuals repeatedly, (and often simultaneously to one or more of our colleagues)?  Law, interpretive guidelines, and accreditation standards mandate some of the redundancy, but as the healthcare system’s credentialing experts, do we allow habit and fear to block our minds to the exploration and development of new concepts?

Something to consider.

Great things are done by people who think great thoughts and then go out into the world to make their dreams come true.

Anonymous Internet Sites and Physician Credentialing

There is a worthwhile discussion happening over at Notes from Dr. RW.  He references a post I wrote back in January about the RateMDs web site. 

Dr. Donnell is, understandably, concered about the validity of anonymous comments posted about physicians on sites like this one, and whether those comments could be included in a review of medical staff credentials.

Read his post.  (Thanks to Kathy Matzka for sending me the link.)

Here is the response I left on his site: 


Dr. Donnell,

I agree with much of what you say about sites like RateMDs. The potential for abuse and unfair attack is considerable.

A colleague of mine found a rather offensive comment about a physician that she knew. It appeared to her that a fellow physician who was angry about perceived mistreatment was the one who had submitted it. She contacted RateMDs and asked for a review and the comment was removed within 24 hours.

As you noted, I made the statement that a check of sites like these will no doubt begin to be part of a routine credentialing process, and I believe that is happening. That does not mean that every word is being taken at face value.

Credentialers request numerous references, and often perform a general internet search on a physician’s name to see what appears. They, and the medical staff leadership that review credentials applications “consider the source” of all those items.

I advise everyone to perform the occasional internet search on their names – it can be surprising what pops up.

Rita Schwab, CPCS, CPMSM

Other thoughts?