Follow Through – Offering Our Patients Complete Care

Premier Pulse     August 2022

1134192644By Andre Harris, MD, chief medical officer, Atrium Medical Center

In basketball, a fundamental principle of a good jump shot is follow through. Many young players will flick their wrist or somewhat push the ball toward the rim and have an inconsistent shot. It does not mean they will not be successful sometimes, but on average, they will not stack up against the great shooters. Following the form all the way through gets the best results.

Medicine has similar mechanics when it comes to excellent patient care. Imagine a physician who only does part of a physical exam or a surgeon who gets 60% of the way through surgery but does not finish. Most would think this is absurd, yet patients are plagued with a lack of follow through and often become the recipients of substandard care.

It is seen in the discharge summary that the patient never received; the prescription that was intended to be prescribed; or the patient care technician who meant to take the patient to the bathroom but never did. As we continue to perfect our craft, the task must be followed to completion.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Many times during the day, we have to prioritize tasks to be as productive as possible.  David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done; the art of stress-free productivity,” offers this advice: First, capture all tasks in a system that lets you get them out of your head and into a “checklist.”  Second, determine what the “next actions” are with this information. Having a group of tasks on a checklist is useless if you have not determined the next viable step to complete the task. Lastly is “curating and coordinating all of that content.” 

What are the tasks that only you can handle, and which need to be passed off to someone else who will follow them through? However you choose to manage your day, make sure you follow through.

Back to the August 2022 issue of Premier Pulse

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