Louisville Medicine Volume 67, Issue 10 | Page 6

A ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE “Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” -Colin Powell s physicians, excellence is constantly assumed and ex- pected. It begins in our early premedical years and con- tinues to be demanded throughout medical school and postgraduate training. Once we take those next steps into practice, we continue to pursue excellence. We have arrived, achieved our goal, yes? I have learned over my years that excellence is not confined to personal achievements or clinical acumen, but, by necessity, includes those around us who assist in the daily care of our patients. Whether you are in a hospital setting, a group, or like myself, a solo practice, you must depend on a myriad of others with whom you work to ensure that patients receive the very best care they seek. Over the near 25 years in my practice, I am reminded of and appreciate the importance of having top-notch office staff who share in setting the bar for excellence each and every day. Let me provide some examples. 4 our electronic health record system, continued management and training of employees, development of social media, and most importantly, assuring that I maintain my sanity! I am so proud that my staff recognizes the importance of excellence, led each day by the examples set by these two ladies. They continue their own medical professional development and are champions for our patients. My other current office staff members see the value in continuing education as nearly everyone has achieved some type of advanced certification. In the changing environment of medicine, physician practices are being acquired by hospital systems and even private equity companies. Colleagues have shared their frustration and the impact this has had on their employees as these new controlling entities often have markedly different managerial approaches and might not understand the culture of the current group. When our day-to-day caregivers who assist in our patient care are upended, maintaining excellence can be a significant challenge. When I opened my practice in 1996, I hired an employee, Ms. Debbie Tharp. Debbie had been a medical technician with a lo- cal internal medicine practice; however, she had no ophthalmic experience. Obviously, being a very small operation at the time, I was able to work closely with Debbie to train her in the manner I preferred. She quickly took to the patients and ultimately extended her qualifications, becoming a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant. She has trained the majority of my technicians over these many years and now is our primary contact for surgical scheduling, focusing on the patients’ pre- and post-op needs, making them feel at ease with what can be assuredly a daunting process. There are more obstacles to delivering excellent patient care than any time in recent memory. It is our obligation to circle our wagons and find ways to overcome these barriers. We must support the Debbies and the Nickis and the entire care team who work hard each day to achieve superb care of our patients. Even though we may feel overwhelmed and even limited in our abilities, we must pursue the ultimate goal. My office manager, Ms. Nicki Greenwell, started with us over 17 years ago. She came into the practice as a receptionist, trained and certified as a technician and eventually moved into the billing office. In 2011, when the current office manager wished to pursue a different career, I asked Nicki if she would step into that position. After some thought, she accepted, and since that time she has guided my office through numerous transitions, including conversion to Dr. Burns is a private practice ophthalmologist. His practice is located in Middletown, KY under the name of Middletown Eye Care. LOUISVILLE MEDICINE So, what should the prevailing attitude be? Accept nothing less than excellence, from ourselves and our health care coworkers. This attitude will reflect our leadership and leadership begins with us. It takes the entire village.