This made me think about the importance of healthy competition. As I've alluded to in one of my earlier posts about my twin sister Jill (http://lakewass.blogspot.com/2014/01/jill.html), I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my friend Jim McLean, who passed away 6 years ago. When he died, our mutual friend Jack Rigg said something very kind to me, which was "the essence of friendship amongst men is rooted in competition, and I've never met male friends who better epitomized that than you and Jim."
I know that I feel really fortunate to have that type of relationship with my practice partner Garrett. It certainly helps in that Garrett and I have known each other for over a decade before we started practicing together and had a professional friendship as a starting point.
It also helps to have a partner you respect and who inspires you. That can affect technical issues, certainly. For example, I performed an ultrasound-guided viscosupplement injection this morning, and I modified the technique based on tips I've learned from Garrett over the past 6 months.
It can affect innovation. For example, Garrett and I have been pioneering new techniques in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, and it helps to have your partner join you while performing the procedure.
It can affect communication. Both Garrett and I will reflect with one another on conversations we've had with patients. Some of that is improving on negatives, and see if different approaches may have worked better. Most of our conversations are positive .... "let me tell you about this wonderful patient I just met. We had a great visit- let me tell you what was so wonderful about them, and why I think they will do well with us."
It certainly affects my sense of fulfillment. When Garrett and I were entertaining the possibility of partnering together, we had a series of long conversations to make sure we shared a similar vision of what we wanted to accomplish. We both have a common goal, recognizing that "Patients who want the best possible care need doctors too." We'll work our way through the process of coming closer to that vision every day, but the starting point is making sure we share a vision. We do.
As an example of that vision, yesterday we closed the office for a few hours to have a dietitian speak to our team. It was a great experience- helped us understand more about nutrition, both for our patients, but also for our team. As Garrett and I reflected back on the experience, we thought about whether it was consistent with our practices vision of "Helping people be the best possible version of themselves every day, using the musculoskeletal system as entry point to better understand themselves." Absolutely! We felt a great source of pride as we left the office yesterday, literally hooting with joy.
Sometimes with medicine, life can be oppressive and negative, and there are certainly changes in health care that are concerning (..... Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services- don't think we don't notice what you're doing!), but I think so long as we stay true to our vision, we'll get through the changes.
Patients ultimately are going to demand better care, and they know it when they see it. Having a partner you respect to serve as a source for inspiration is part of the "secret sauce" that will make sure we continue to grow and get better.