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Collaborative premedication for healthcare leaders

April 16th, 2014

by Kenneth H. Cohn

"Maybe I should premedicate, too," a CEO of a Western community hospital said to me the night before I presented the data on 27 interviews of her medical and nursing staff.

A little context is in order:

  • My wife is a school nurse who rarely gets any of the viruses that students pass around.
  • Ten days prior to my trip out West, she got an upper respiratory infection.
  • Three days prior to my trip out West, I got it too.
  • It lingered for the first three days with the usual nasal congestion, sore throat and sinus pressure.
  • On the day I was scheduled to travel, it morphed into the gift that keeps on giving; I can't think of a single system it did not touch. By the time I met the CEO and medical staff president for dinner, after seven hours in the air and two hours in a car, I looked far from the person they expected to facilitate a two-hour discussion with an ornery medical staff the next day.
  • That is why I reassured them I would premedicate with a decongestant and acetaminophen.

=> Read more!

The path to physician reinvention

March 12th, 2014

by Kenneth H. Cohn

It always gives me a good feeling when physicians say to me after a seminar, "You gave me hope."

Physicians are facing a number of losses, from clinical autonomy to financial security, as noted in the Archives of Family Medicine. In general, physicians have done everything asked of them from college through fellowship training.

Yet, something is missing from the lives of many doctors I have worked with across 43 states.

=> Read more!

Physician engagement can cut waste

February 12th, 2014

by Kenneth H. Cohn

Patrick Bresette of the national think tank Demos wrote that cutting waste increases public confidence in those who do so. Dealing with wasted money in healthcare is tricky because it is marbleized rather than something we trim with a meat cleaver.

Sources of waste include:1, 2

  • Duplicative of testing
  • Inventory
  • Arbitrary variation
  • Wait time
  • Errors in diagnosis, therapy and communication
  • Looking for supplies
  • Fraud
  • Working at the low end of one's skill set

=> Read more!

The power of physician leader confessions

January 14th, 2014

by Kenneth H. Cohn

Although I knew my job was to talk about the impact of physician behavior on quality and safety at an annual medical staff meeting and that the content needed approval to qualify for risk management credits, I also knew that spouses and significant others would be present. "Keep it upbeat, entertaining, and brief," counseled the medical staff president, who invited me to speak.

My wife looked horrified when I answered, "Whose mistakes will you discuss," with "Mine."

"You're kidding," she hoped. "Why would you want to do that?"

=> Read more!

Engage docs in business planning

November 20th, 2013

by Kenneth H. Cohn

I felt honored to be asked to speak on mission-, vision-, and values-based business planning to approximately 100 physicians and allied healthcare professionals earlier this month. I summarized an article I had written in response to a chief operating officer who dismissed a practicing physician with an idea of how to shorten the time from presentation to diagnosis for patients with a prostate mass.

"Fine, now write me a business plan," the COO told the physician.

The physician did just that. Moreover, the business plan I helped him write became the blueprint for a multidisciplinary cancer center (Cohn KH, Schwartz RW. "Business plan writing for physicians." Am J Surg 2002;184(2):114-120).

With that in mind, I gave the audience of physicians and healthcare professionals four principal reasons to write a business plan:

=> Read more!

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