How to Influence Council

influence councilLaugh tracks win debates.

Political talk shows, like Bill Maher’s, rely on cheers from the audience to boost the host’s views.

Applause directs viewers what to think. No one wants scorn for being out of line with what Bill Maher thinks.

Groups of doctors are no different. We think that we are thoughtful and deliberate, but applause changes doctors’ opinions, just like everyone else.

Influence Council

Almost 300 doctors will take a biannual pilgrimage to a giant basement in Toronto for the Ontario Medical Association Council meeting this weekend. Council delegates will consume tables of carbs and coffee listening to the OMA Board Report and other issues.

Delegates must sift hours of noise for buried scandals. Big issues can slip by in seconds. When delegates find something, they need to speak up. They need to convince the basement mob to think differently. Continue reading “How to Influence Council”

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Are Doctors Trapped in Their Careers?

New AdventureDread lies beyond fear and hopelessness. When we see only the certainty of something worse, we sink into a malaise and dread impossible to shake.

Country singers sell songs about heartache and loss, but no one likes songs of foreboding or panic.

Doctors in Ontario need a reason to hope again. They feel desperate. They have been attacked and slandered by government for the last 5 years. Draconian legislation threatens professional autonomy with Bill 41 (nee Bill 210). Docs feel abandoned and do not know who to trust. A malaise rests on doctors as dark as the 1990’s social contract years.

Reason to Hope

Doctors might appear to have it all. Doctors were born with an ability to endure gruelling education, and they get to help people for a living. Doctors never starve to death; only a few go bankrupt. But happiness requires more than a job, good food and a decent car. Continue reading “Are Doctors Trapped in Their Careers?”

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Dangers of an Executive Committee

Executive CommitteeIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade pivots around Indiana Jones’ relationship with his father.

During the first half of the movie, Indiana treats his dad with a mix of frustration and programmed obedience.

At one point, Indie sits with his dad and asks why they never talked.

Indie says that his dad taught him that he was less important than people who had been dead for 500 years. His dad insists that he was a great father: He gave his son independence.

The conversation heats up, and Indie’s dad finally closes his book. He leans back and says,

Okay, I’m here. What do you wanna talk about?

He stares at Indie: see the picture above.

Indie is at a loss for words. I….I don’t know, he says.

His dad says, Well alright then. We’ve got work to do!

Indie drops the topic, his dad stays convinced that he was a good father, and the movie continues.

Board & Executive Committee

We find Boards everywhere: hospitals, banks, medical associations and athletic clubs. Not all groups have Boards, but we all belong to groups governed by Boards. If we want our groups to perform well, we need to know a bit about the Boards that run them. Continue reading “Dangers of an Executive Committee”

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Doctors Need a Champion

superhero-kidMost people are too polite to tell you what they think. Even when it feels like someone was courageously honest, they still held back their strongest opinions.

This week, several dozen doctors met just west of Toronto to tell the OMA what they thought. It was one of many meetings booked across the province. Dr. Virginia Walley, OMA President, handled the questions and feedback.

Most docs pulled their punches and were polite. Even so, they offered bitter medicine. Continue reading “Doctors Need a Champion”

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Caring Versus Care

cassie-campbell-pascallMany athletes start second careers as broadcasters. Viewers love to hear from someone who spent time doing what others can only talk about.

Every profession has pundits and players: people who do and others who just talk. Even those who actually do what they love to talk about, sometimes confuse talking with doing.

Care versus Caring

Most doctors notice when they spend time away from clinical care. They feel out of touch. Physician leaders often insist on a few hours each week to spend with patients, to remember why healthcare exists.

If doctors feel ungrounded after only a few days away from patients, imagine how bureaucrats and politicians must feel? Continue reading “Caring Versus Care”

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Disruptive Takeover & Medical Associations

uber_drivermusic_imageToronto taxi licenses peaked at $360,000 in 2012. Three years later, licenses sold for $118,235.

Today, taxi plates go for less than $100,000.

Uber found a way to lower rates, offer better access and collect customer feedback with each ride.

Uber disrupted the taxi industry. Netflix did the same with movie rentals.

Airbnb entered the ‘hotel’ business without owning a single hotel room. It now has a larger market cap than Hilton and Marriott. Luxurious monopolies create irresistible targets for disruptive takeover. Continue reading “Disruptive Takeover & Medical Associations”

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Nature of Medicine Ignored – Why Programs Fail

david suzukiDavid Suzuki made millions telling Canadians about The Nature of Things, starting with his show by the same name.

He mixed science with story-telling to promote everything from the environment to globalism.

His descriptions became prescriptive. He told us what is, and we inferred what ought to be. Regardless of what you think of Suzuki’s politics, his methods work.

Medicine needs its own Nature of Things. Continue reading “Nature of Medicine Ignored – Why Programs Fail”

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Healthcare System vs Patients – Stewardship Part II

fork_in_the_road_-_geograph-org-uk_-_1355424Canadian healthcare stands paralyzed in a Robert Frost poem:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

– The Road Not Taken

Wooly-minded people pretend binary choices do not exist. They think we can choose both roads. Or they think one road will always be clearly wrong, as long as we use logic, facts and good will in choosing.

Doctors face two roads every day:

Do we do what’s best for the patient and prescribe an expensive treatment, or do we do what’s best for society and save the money for something else?

Until recently, doctors just prescribed what patients needed. Continue reading “Healthcare System vs Patients – Stewardship Part II”

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