I am fortunate, and grateful, to have a brother whose inclination and job means that he has an interest in many fields of medicine. Education, research, clinical and academia all provide him with stimulation. We are able to learn from each other (although I believe the balance favours and benefits me).
A part of his New Year clear out the 2010 film “Health Factory” arrived via a pretty large download yesterday and I would urge anyone who is involved in health care to watch it and then to ask themselves some very simple questions. Start with “Why?” as in “Why am I doing what I’m doing? and “Why am I doing it this way?”.
The film questions the way health services are provided and if the current obsession with the imposition of “business” processes benefits anyone, patients or (that awful word) providers.
As you can imagine for someone who describes himself as “The Dental Business Coach” I am capable of vigorously justifying the arguments for dealing with dentistry as a “business”. However this film has made me examine what I am doing for and with my clients.
It helped me to understand why gut feeling led me to turn down more clients than I accepted last year. Finally it reinforced the beliefs and convictions that led me into dentistry in the first place and made me realise that what I am doing these days is right.
Watching what happened when Norway imposed a new system and how hospitals were rewarded for “gaming” or “creative coding” took me back to my early days of NHS associateship. The culture at that time, encouraged speed of work and high output leading to a “pile high sell cheap” approach where the work was made to match the narrative of the NHS scale of fees. As the fees evolved so did clinical practice to maximise income. It was only when I took control back by working privately on a one to one basis with patients that I felt in control and capable of giving my best without compromise.
One can argue, and I do, that dentistry easily adapts to “business” models and even fashion. There is much that can be measured easily and should be, a lot more that could be but isn’t because the “need “ is not appreciated. However the imposition and measurement of many Key Performance Indicators is frequently a waste of time and energy providing results that signify little.
You can’t measure trust, patience, co-operation or happiness (in spite of what some gurus would have you believe).
As one of the featured clinicians said, “You end up measuring what can be measured, which will always be marginal to what the core of the job is.”
So for me, it’s a return to examining the abstract, difficult to quantify elements of dentistry. Anyone can measure things. It takes experience, and dare I say it, a certain amount of gravitas, to feel, to empathise, to understand and analyse what health means, to both patients and clinicians.
Worth a look, you can rent it and see the preview HERE.
And there are more clips on YouTube