Excellence: Reflections of a Physician Leader

What is excellence?

I guess the first question we should ask ourselves is, why excellence?

If mediocrity is the acceptable norm, why strive for excellence?

If excellence slows you down in the operating room and makes you less efficient, why excellence?

If excellence is advising a patient to avoid surgery for something that may be successfully managed with a medication or a surveillance… why excellence?

If excellence is considering all of the unintended consequences of the medical decisions you make, including costs to the system and the patient … why excellence?

If excellence is referring a patient with a more complex condition to a colleague who may be better skilled to handle the problem… why excellence?

If excellence is following the peri-operative protocols for time-outs and debrief in the operating room and that is just so annoying to you… why excellence?

If excellence is not allowing yourself to be influenced by the fringe benefits you receive from various surgical device and pharmaceutical reps… why excellence?

If excellence is participation in CME activities beyond the minimum requirements of your board certification and licensing… why excellence?

If excellence is collaborating with nursing and advanced practice clinicians to develop a high functioning team…why excellence?

If excellence challenges you to review your surgical complications with your peers and evaluate if you could have done something better in that situation… why excellence?

If excellence means living life in SBAR fashion…why excellence?

If excellence makes you more accountable to standard practices and procedures which may interfere with your current routine or practice… why excellence?

If excellence is embracing the upcoming EMR and that will really interfere with your current practice flow and productivity… why excellence?

In answering “why excellence”, we understand the meaning of excellence.

The best thing for our patients is to be able to continue to maintain some sort of independence and have the ability to make choices with respect to their health care decisions. We, as physicians, need to take ownership and leadership of the health care environment if we want our patients to maintain some aspect of our current state in healthcare. We can do this through striving for excellence.

Today, I challenge you all to look within your various practices and service lines. Put your egos aside. Ignore your wallet and your bottom line. Identify opportunities to collaborate and innovate with your colleagues and administrators. Excellence is not about competition. Excellence is about challenge. The challenge to develop and sustain an affordable, quality driven option to health care that is patient and provider centered.

None of you would be here today if you weren’t excellent. So, today I ask you to own and embrace your excellence. Your patients will love you more for it and you will be a better doctor because of it.

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