High-tech Care with Old-Fashioned Values

Teams and what they teach us.

We've been watching some of the NBA playoffs lately. This time of year you often find one of two types of teams. The first I will call the "MJ" team. These are the ones with a dominant superstar who can do it all and often does in the 4th quarter of games winning or losing placed squarely on his shoulders. The second is the coach favorite "Team" team. This is one with good role players who seem able to rise to the occasion as the match ups dictate. These teams are difficult to defend and are pesky....and oftentimes are the winners. In healthcare we work as a team. The physician is a most visible player but is really no more important than all the others on the team. He or she just has a different skill set but not the only one. In fact often the physician merely provides the most visible interaction while all the others really create the magic. Management specialists often point to a movie production as the ultimate in creative teamwork. Experts and line workers with specific skills are brought together for intense and purpose-driven activities. Their is a director but the entire production could hinge on a dog trainer or a script writer. The actors are the most visible but the makeup artist makes them look bad or good as the scene dictates. After the production is over the entire team disbands and may never come together again in the exact same way again. I am often amazed at how many folks are involved in my care for one patient for one problem. From the receptionist to the pharmacist, from the lab phlebotomist to the nurse we all are focused on the problem and its resolution. The entire team may never work together again on another problem. What I have learned from this is that RESPECT FOR THE SKILLS AND IMPORTANCE OF ALL TEAM MEMBERS and CLEAR COMMUNICATION are key to a team working well. It's no good to throw a lob pass if no one is there to dunk it home!

I hope that you will see a team in action when you use our facility. If you don't please contact us. Remember YOU are also part of the team as much of medicine depends on people changing lifestyles, working with medications and following up with communication about how a treatment plan is working. Let's all work together to win when it comes to your health.

Practice, Practice, Practice

I just got back from a bluegrass concert. Living in East TN you need to be at least familiar with this musical style and it is one of my favorites. Although I play a bit of guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin I will never achieve the quality of what I heard tonight. There has been some research that shows that to be excellent at any skill you need to put in roughly 10.000 hours of practice (unless you have some super gift). This applies to almost any skill. In medicine we talk about "practicing" medicine. There has been research supporting the fact that doctors who frequently do a procedure at hospitals that have high volumes of a procedure tend to do better with less complications and better outcomes. Other studies support the observation that with experience doctors in fields where "pattern recognition" is important become better. I recall asking an older colleague to interview a particularly difficult case early in my carrier only to have him as one question and then take me out of the room to tell me the correct diagnosis. I was astonished and asked how he knew. "I've seen it before" was the response. He meant that his pattern recognition of that disease was superior to mine because of his experience. In primary care practices we have to be cautious about becoming to smug and keeping patients too long before we consult another physician. The key is knowing when you need that help and understanding it is not a flaw in your skill set. We hope that when you see us we always refer you in a timely fashion to colleagues with skill sets that will enhance ours and result in better care for you and your family.

Finally up and running

It has taken a while but I finally got the hang of how to post information to our site. I am excited about how this will aid in our practice communicating with our patients. I have developed an interest in exercise and nutrition and have always been open to complementary medicine approaches. With the news daily of drugs being recalled due to harmful side effects I can only say that any approach the you have to health that DOESN'T HURT YOU is certainly no worse than what we often offer with medications.

For existing patients you have noticed some new changes around the practice. Stacy Harbin has been added to help with billing and the phone traffic. As she gets more familiar with our practice we hope she will prove a useful addition our family. Holly has been give more management responsibilities and, for those of you who know her, she is up to the task. She will help us with strategic planning, outreach and education and improving our lab and communication with patients. VERY SOON NOW we hope to have a "Portal" to our electronic medical record that will be available through a secure internet site. This will allow patients to log in and make appointments, ask questions, request refills and do other useful things. We are excited about this and hope it will be up and running by the end of the summer. Thank you for being a visitor and if you are a patient, thank you for your support.

Welcome to blog

Glad you found this site. I'm hoping my patients and others interested in health and wellness will use this a source of information, meeting and inspiration. Working in a solo practice in this day and age is again becoming viable for family physicians. We can link to our patients in many ways and have the world at our fingertips. Our team believes that using appropriate technology like integrated electronic medical records, fax servers and wireless communications give us more time to do the "old fashioned" things like talk to our patients!