Several months ago, I wrote an article asking a key question: Where is your health passion? Four quadrants were discussed, as illustrated below.
The point here is not to re-state the differences between each quadrant, as you can click on the link to dive deeper into each. The point here is to build on this question, especially if you work in the health care industry. The question is this: Is your job just a job, or is it a job in health care?
I believe there is a something unique about working in health care. I don’t really care what your role in it is. You can work for a hospital, clinic, lab, imaging center, vendor, consulting firm, trade organization, standards group, or any other organization that relates to health care and my belief remains the same:
I believe health care creates a special place for us to embrace more than just a job.
Health care is an opportunity to try to improve our system of delivery in whatever way we can as well as change ourselves in how we approach our personal care. It is a dual passion to live in health care.
With this, there is a passion of change that should run through our veins as we undertake our daily responsibilities.
Whether or not we agree with the Affordable Care Act (i.e., health care reform), HITECH, ICD-10, or any other aspect, it doesn’t really matter. There are certain facets of our health care system that we cannot directly change with a wave of our hand. However, there are traits that we can change – and should – and we need to participate in every way we can (e.g., town hall meetings, regulatory comment periods).
If you think back to certain points in our historical timelines, you can point to certain efforts where people truly believed they were changing the world. It could have been the time of the space program launch or the launch of personal computing or the enabling of the internet or the greatest generation that enabled freedom to endure.
As individuals working in the health care industry, we should feel enlivened by the work we do, where we do it, and the impact we have.
If you work as a physician, your fingers are literally on the pulse of the very people we are building a better care system for, and you take those precious few minutes to have a caring conversation with those who come to see you.
If you work as a software programmer, your fingers should build the very best programs to enable clinicians and patients to embrace care with ease and effectiveness.
If you work as a consultant, your brain power and knowledge should be applied to the design and implementation of the very best of processes – lean, measurable, and patient-centered.
If you work as a nurse, your hands and voice touch the lives of so many as you deliver the continuous care to all on your roster.
The point is, whatever your role, you should embrace it as changing your corner of the health care world, step by step. It is more than a job; it is changing and enhancing a system that delivers real care to real people.
Our jobs are larger than the hum-drum activities of some other industries. There is something more we do, upshifting our knowledge and special work to a higher gear and feel fully satisfied in what we do.
How can we do this? Well, here are a few suggestions:
1 – Read.
Grab a book about health care and learn a new angle, direction, or practice. I recently did this with The Creative Destruction of Medicine, and now a third person within our company is reading it. The same goes for blogs. Find some that challenge current practices or offer fresh perspectives. Keep learning about our health care system. It will help make your job even more meaningful and vital.
Read, absorb, and pass it on. This is an advancing way to embrace health care more fully.
2 – Participate in conferences – virtual or in person.
There are many conferences that take place in health care. While some carry a cost to attend, there are many that do not. Select ones that bolster what you already do, or provide you with insights a few steps earlier or later in the process in which you work. Gain insights into the hand-offs coming to you and taking off from you. It is about gaining insights into the greater context of the role you play.
And, by “participating” I mean asking questions during sessions, engaging people in conversations during breaks, and even speaking at conferences. Attend and contribute fully.
3 – Share practices that work.
If your EHR implementation really worked well because of how something was done, share it. If a process re-design raised the quality of the measurements, share it. If a physician is extraordinary in the way they care for patients, share it. By sharing our experiences, we all will get better at what we do and how we do it.
4 – Engage a community.
Through social media, there are many communities to engage. If you are in health IT, engage #HITsm. If you are interested in patients, engage #HCSM. If you are interested in empowering patients and physicians, engage #S4PM. If you are interested in mobile and digital health, engage #mhealth.
If you have diabetes, heart issues, or whatever other ailments or interests you might have, there are others like you who are seeking your thoughts and, most importantly, your support and experiences. With little doubt, whatever your interest in health care, there is community ready to embrace you.
5 – Get healthier, trying new tools to monitor, measure, and improve.
In my opinion, we all have a responsibility in our own care. It may be walking more, taking the stairs, eating better, losing weight, gaining weight, watching the types of foods we eat… However we can improve our health, we should try new things or old things or just something to get on a better health track. We should be excited and engaged in our health!
Today, there are so many more things available to help us (think mHealth), yet the simple things can work to… just grab a paper and pencil and count your calories or time slept each day for a week.
These are just a few suggestions on how to get more passionate about the industry in which we work. What ideas or suggestions do you have? Write them below in the comments section.
The point is we work in an industry in which it is more than just a job. We have a mission to make health care better. This is our opportunity, so let’s not view our jobs as just another job. Let’s embrace it, be passionate about whole health, and change it!
This is about our system of care and our personal care… both changeable, both more than just a job. It is our opportunity to make a difference.
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