This post, part two in our series Healthcare in 2020, looks at four resolutions physicians and other clinicians can make this year to stay engaged, connect with patients, and allow your perspective to help shape the future of your organization.

Another year, another decade. What lies ahead for healthcare in 2020, where medical providers are concerned?

To answer that question, we take a closer look at the four imperatives laid out in part one of the series, “Healthcare in 2020,” to investigate how you as a clinician can move your organization forward with innovative care solutions into the next generation of healthcare.

Specifically, we look at bitesize, achievable resolutions you should make for the upcoming year.

1. Stay true to who you set out to be. 

For providers, this starts with “finding your why.” It also means aligning with an organization that shares your values and supports your growth. If you still have the energy, vivacity, and curiosity you started with, share it with others and be an example. If you’ve lost sight of why you signed up for a career in medicine, re-center.

An excellent way to start is by asking, “What’s more important: money or meaning?”

A matriculating survey questionnaire administered by the AAMC asked 2018 medical school graduates what was important in choosing a career path. They could select essential, very important, somewhat important, or not important as the options.

The respondents continually emphasized meaning over money or status, as illustrated in the following results:

  • Working for social change: 26 percent essential, 40 percent very important;
  • Expression of personal values: 32 percent essential, 43 percent very important;
  • High-income potential: 5.9 percent essential, 29.3 percent very important;
  • Social recognition or status: 2.5 percent essential, 14.0 percent very important.

Author and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki put the money-meaning paradigm into candid perspective when he said, "If you make money, you might not make meaning; if you make meaning, you'll make money."

Although he was talking to entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley startups, his advice applies to physicians as well.

So, how do you “make meaning?”

Dr. Steve Nichols, SCP Health’s Chief Clinical Technology Officer, offered the following advice in a blog post on physician suicide to help clinicians rediscover personal meaning in their work:

  • Learn what work-life balance looks like on an individual level, and don’t feel swayed by what peers or colleagues have chosen for themselves;
  • Look for joys in the daily tasks, find the positive moments, and make a habit of behaviors that bring fulfillment;
  • Find a supportive mentor or mental health professional.

To ensure longevity and productivity in your career and avoid physician burnout, find your “why” — your sense of meaning — and stay true to your calling.

2. Prioritize human connection and set big goals.

In your practice, it’s easy to get stuck in the confines of your daily routine and never venture beyond your comfort zone. Think bigger in 2020.

Consider these three ways:

Get to know your patients on a personal level. Although your time is limited, get to know your patients on a more personal level than in the past — their social situations, beliefs, preferences, and, perhaps, their end-of-life wishes.

Make sure they are connected to the right people, have an informed and prepared caretaker, are equipped with the right resources, and set up for the most success possible. This might mean taking extra time here and there, and that can be okay.

Make patient experience a top priority. Consumerism in healthcare has made focusing on improving patient experience an imperative, to build loyalty and lifetime value. And, as you well know, hospital and health system reimbursement is more closely tied to patient satisfaction than ever. Those are both excellent reasons to make improving patient experience a top priority in 2020 and beyond.

Get involved in the community. As healthcare shifts more into patients' homes and communities, you have a responsibility to care for patients outside the four walls of the hospital.

Consider becoming part of a post-acute care team to address patients who aren’t sick enough to be admitted to the hospital but still need support. If you're a hospitalist, investigate the benefits of telemedicine and offering telehospitalist services to patients in locations where access to care is limited.

3. Be open to change—and transparent about its impact on your practice and patients. 

We can characterize change in four ways: sometimes unnecessary, frequently disorienting, usually inevitable, and, often, the best thing we can do. 

For providers, change requires staying up to date on the latest techniques, diseases, and research. It also means being open to new technologies, but not chasing trends unwisely. Not everything will work for your organization, and spending time and money on unnecessary or unwise investments can be highly detrimental to overall financial and operational success. Be bold and honest in sharing your feedback about what works and what doesn’t — administration and vendors need to know.

Welcome various types of clinicians onto your team (i.e., embrace diversity in backgrounds, education, location, etc.), and ask for a seat at the table when innovative healthcare models are being discussed and selected.

4. Give your all—but don’t lose yourself.

As a clinician,  giving your all at work is probably your default.

You may think, “some people don’t naturally give all their energy into their job and leave exhausted?” But what’s vital for you to hear and be okay with is that, sometimes, you won’t have anything to “leave on the field.” Sometimes, your “all-out” should be dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to a few days of rest so you can come back recharged.

If not being able to do your best at work becomes the status quo, you may be burning out. Recognize that, and don’t be afraid or ashamed of needing some time to care for yourself before you go back to caring for others.

Conclusion

Set big goals for 2020, but, above all, resolve to take care of yourself as much as you care for others. It doesn’t matter what the next year or next decade holds for healthcare if you don’t take the steps necessary to remain healthy in all respects — mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

SCP Health can be a partner to you, providing the expertise and support you need to build a fruitful career for years to come. Want to learn more? Let’s start a conversation.