Thursday, October 20, 2011

We All Need To Slow Down

Oh shoot!

I looked up from the computer and glanced in my wife's direction. She was standing over a pot with the last drops of milk pouring out of the carton.

We're out of milk.

As straightforward as the statement sounded, I knew the alternate meaning. I would be running to the store shortly. I pouted pathetically.

Come on. You know they need to have chocolate milk before they go to bed.

If I left immediately, I could be home in time for dinner. I walked over to the mud room and struggled to get my shoes on quickly. When I looked up, two sets of small feet blocked my way to the door.

Can I come too?

They both spoke in unison as if they belonged to some sort of synchronized cult. In the blink of an eye, both kids were somehow decked out in boots and rain coats. I paused. My eyes moved from the clock to their quizzical faces.

Daddy is just running out for a moment. I will be right back.

Their smiles turned into frowns. My three year old daughter started to cry. I pushed my way out the door while they followed in tow. They stopped on the porch and waved as I opened the garage door. A sheet of rain separated me from their pitiful little figures.


While driving to the grocery store, I couldn't help thinking about the office. Today was the "go live" for our new electronic medical record. As expected, the stress in the air was palpable.

My patients stared glassy eyed as I fiddled with the computer. I repeated myself. I interrupted them. I was distracted. My agenda clearly wasn't their well being.

And strangely, it felt similar to what just happened with my kids.

I was going to the store for their benefit. But my children didn't really care about milk. They just wanted a ride with their father. If I listened to their opinion, I probably wouldn't be alone in the car at the moment. And that's how our patients must feel.

We're moving so fast with meaningful use, ACO's, and patient centered medical homes. We're punishing hospitals for re admissions and collecting "quality" data on our doctors.

We say that we are doing this for the "good" of our community. We talk about "patient centeredness" as if we own the term. But is anyone asking their opinion? Or are our patients left standing in the cold in raincoats and boots like little children?


When I arrived at the grocery store, I sprinted through the isles. I quickly grabbed two gallons of milk, and tapped my feet impatiently at the check out counter. I reached for the wallet in my back pocket, and was shocked at what I found. Or better yet, what I didn't find.

I left in such a hurry I forgot my wallet. It was the law of unintended consequences.

Has anyone explained to the government that you can't buy milk If you hastily forget your money?

I think we all need to slow down!


I left the store and drove back home. I picked up my wallet and kids, and we all went together on an adventure.

Our destination was the grocery store.


Unknown said...

I listen to you speak at our national strategy conference in Louisville last week and enjoyed listening to you speak and hearing some of what you have written. I have encouraged others to read your blog. Thank you.

Amedisys Hospice Services

Unknown said...

I heard you speak at our Natioanl Hospice Strategy meeting in Louisville last week and really enjoyed listening to you.