Leading into the Future

Premier Pulse     February 2018

By Scott Kanagy, DO, MBA, chief medical officer, Premier Health Northern Region

Medicine has changed dramatically in the past decade. Influences in Washington D.C., geographic and economic forces, and patients have significantly affected how institutions are run and how we fulfill the oath we all took to care for patients. Many difficult decisions have had to be made. In this new age of medicine, we need courageous leadership more than ever. Leadership is found on all levels within a health care facility and includes representation from every department. We find ourselves operating during a time in which leadership is needed more than any other time I can remember throughout my tenure as a physician. I know after conversations with many of you that we are ready to move forward in these times of change and challenges. And we will do so while continuing to fulfill the oath we took to care for those who have entrusted us with their care.

What do great leaders do in difficult times? First and foremost, we must control our own fear. It is natural for everyone to be fearful and uncomfortable in times of change and uncertainty. This is only human. However, to lead and champion others to fulfill our mission, we must take time to ask the questions that we all fear, develop a plan and pathway to overcome those fears, and concentrate on our true focus: the patient.

Although it may not be popular or understood by all, we must remember that our mission comes first. We all have wants and needs, and each of us will ask, “How will this affect me?” This is natural and expected, and should be respected. However, after the natural process of feeling concern for ourselves, we all need to ask, “How can I do what is best for the good of all?” This is a tall ask of my fellow colleagues, but I believe those I surround myself with are up for the challenge.

In times that are difficult, remember to be tough but human. Many people will challenge us on the decisions that are made. This is expected and welcomed. We need to listen and be respectful of all views and opinions. With that said, we can be Premier Proud of what we have accomplished to date, and what we will accomplish in decades to come. Remember, however, to be sensitive, as people are uncertain and have many questions. Become part of the solution and our future.

Do not stand alone or do it all yourself. Encourage your people. We must look to one another for strength and comfort as we navigate the new age of medicine.

No organization can survive without effective communication. In any situation, effective communication is paramount in achieving successful outcomes. The art of effective communication has been debated for centuries and will continue to be debated for centuries to come. But I ask all to respect the open channels of communication that we have in place, and to communicate respectfully.

Many people who have been drawn to the medical world as a profession initially respond to problems by trying to solve them on their own. Although this is admirable, we have to remember that we are a team; and only with everyone’s input, from clinical-facing to non-clinical facing services, can we properly care for our patients. We must use our resources wisely to be successful.

Finally, we all have much to learn. Each day is an opportunity to learn from others, and those who do not embrace this are missing out on many valuable lessons in life. Every day, we need to imitate the leaders who inspire us and learn from all whom we encounter.

We find ourselves in a time of change and challenges. We owe it to our patients, to whom we have dedicated our lives, to take on these challenges and work together as Premier Health leaders to continue to IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE, have people CHOOSE PREMIER HEALTH over any health system in Southwest Ohio, EARN their choice, and GROW our market leadership, while upholding our core values of RESPECT, INTEGRITY, COMPASSION, and EXCELLENCE. 

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