Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 10 - Page 6

This month ’ s Wellness Wednesday Webinar , part 3 of our 4-part series , featured Dr . Steve Sartori . He is a certified physician coach , who helps doctors and other health care professionals optimize well-being and maximize influence . He was the founder of a primary care practice in rural Kentucky , and served as chief of staff at two hospitals , faculty member for a family medicine residency program , chief medical officer for a faith-based community health center and Director of the Center for Well-Being at The Christian Medical & Dental Associations .

As physicians , we are submerged in the art and science of medicine and yet are not taught enough about business . From interviewing potential new employees to negotiating insurance contracts , the individual physician may become overwhelmed wading through the rough waters of business . There was a time during private practice when I became aware that I needed a business coach . Staff turnover was too frequent and costly . As a physician entrepreneur , I realized that I needed guidance from a professional and hired a business coach .
The coach taught me how to lead the team and get everyone in alignment with our mission and vision . They also helped me learn how to run effective and enjoyable staff meetings with full engagement and participation of the entire staff . Once this occurred , we all became a close-knit team that enjoyed coming to work every day and working hard together to achieve our goals . Embracing our coaches as an important part of our team , we became a highly successful team , achieving NCQA certification as a level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home , Center for Diabetes Excellence , part of a successful and highly profitable ACO and consistently scored high on nearly all of our patient care quality markers .
Another area where coaching was beneficial was with our wellness program . After failing at establishing a weight loss program for our patients and being out of shape and overweight myself , my wife and I hired a health coach . She taught us a lot about nutrition , helped us change our lifestyle of eating and we participated in her exercise class for six months . In the first three months I lost 60 pounds and achieved my ideal weight of 170 pounds .
Our patients watched our rapid transformation into optimal health and wanted us to help them achieve these kinds of results . We developed a weight loss program and became health coaches for our patients . We taught them essentials of healthy lifestyle choices and helped them to be accountable for implementing these changes in their lives . The program was a great success and helped many of our


patients lose a lot of weight and make permanent lifestyle changes . As a service to our community , we offered our weight loss program to the local fire and police departments . The fire department collectively lost over 400 pounds and the police department saw good results as well . The fire department reported to us that after their significant weight loss and improved health , they had much more energy , were less fatigued and the amount of supplemental oxygen they used when fighting fires decreased by nearly half .
Having a coach can seem like something that might be nice to have but something that is not necessary and too costly . We often do most things in our own strength instead of asking for or accepting help from others . Too often , pride , ego or stubbornness can get in the way . We have coaches for football , basketball and other sports when we are young . College and professional athletes have coaches . Many physicians who have administrative roles now have coaches . Many highly successful people have coaches , and most coaches have coaches .
Coaches typically have high emotional intelligence and are good at understanding and relating to people . They are good at showing empathy and developing relationships and building rapport . Coaches help develop a deeper level of learning ; they are a safe place to gain perspective . They help build personal awareness , which is also very important to personal and professional growth and team building . Coaches help individuals and teams establish and act toward achieving their goals .
Coaching goes beyond dollars and cents , including helping establish and maintain a healthy culture , which is crucial to the well-being of any team and organization . Coaching helps each individual look at his or her personality in respect to others . I found having a coach invaluable and a great return on investment in a variety of ways . In private practice , coaching helped me build better relationships , establish a healthy culture and create a highly effective team . Please consider hiring a coach . If you are interested , please contact GLMS for further information and support .
The previously recorded webinars will be available online March 31 at glms . org . Also , if you have not already signed up for our GLMS physician wellness texting service to receive helpful information about these and other events , please text “ Wellness ” to 833-509-1891 . Please note , standard texting rates may apply .
Dr . Sosnin is a primary care physician with a specialty in family medicine .