I was excited and honoured to be asked to write a blog for HealthJobHub on the funding cuts in Alberta impacting physicians. HealthJobHub is the premiere national health care job platform, run by Prasanthi Naidoo – a real firecracker of an entrepreneur based in Calgary. While you can read the full blog on her site: https://www.healthjobhub.com/post/what-is-up-with-these-cuts, there are some additional thoughts that have been influenced by my conversations with doctors in BC and Alberta. In a fascinating email between me and Drs. Lawrence Yang and Jia Hu we discussed what might be some places where population health planning intersect with primary care, and how is that made tangible at a clinic level. The Vermont Blueprint for Health highlights that population health planning supports strategy and programming, while panel supports operational planning. That means as you build your clinic, you use population health data for long-term planning and strategy, and your panel or referral patterns to help manage your day to day operations and needs today. It is an art and dance between the two.
Lawrence provided his thinking on “Silo Busters” (he also talks about #FTS…I’ll let you figure out what that means..I will give you a hint. He hates silos). At the root is the need to build the skills and capacity of providers as change agents and leaders. His thinking is one that I can subscribe to. Give smart people tools like quality improvement, build their leadership skills, and create the right conditions – and watch the magic. He believes that health system integration – or silo busting – only occurs when physician leaders are identified, purposefully developed, and operate in a system that is psychologically safe. With those conditions they can then “activating and aligning their talents…for…sustainable change.”
What skills do physician leaders and change agents need to possess in his opinion? They are talented listeners first and foremost. They seek to understand and come from a place of presuming the best in others. They communicate in artful ways that promotes safety and conveys trust, capacity and ability in others. They understand systems and patient’s perspectives. Those leaders can then work with others leaders in other sectors to create a system that makes sense for patients.
While the blog I wrote for HealthJobHub may seem a bit doom and gloom, there are steps that you can take. Apart from bringing your voice to the table through the AMA consultations, arm yourself. Changes are coming – that is something we know for sure in health. Being adaptive, responsive and thoughtful are keys to success in any changing environment. In what ways might you increase your adaptivity? The adaptivity of your team? You could build your leadership skills with the University of Alberta sessions on Cognitive Coaching (https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/programs/lifelong-learning/news/2019/november/cognitive-coaching). You could look at your clinical processes and enhance your practice efficiencies. You could streamline your HR processes and make sure you are in compliance. Learn
to be adaptive – one step at a time!