Transforming America’s health care system will require more than measures to control costs, says Jeff Wiese, M.D., president of the Society of Hospital Medicine and chief of Medicine at Charity and University Hospitals in New Orleans, La. His address, the 6th Annual Roger B. Thomas Memorial Lecture on March 31 at the Christiana Hospital campus, was titled “Transforming Health Care Reform into the Hospital of the Future.”
In addition to financial incentives, he said that strategies to achieve positive change also must take into account social and moral goals.“It’s about doing the right thing for the patient,” he said.
Dr. Wiese advocates a paradigm shift away from looking at individuals who make mistakes and instead focusing on systems that can be improved to operate with greater safety and efficiency.
“This is not an issue of people having to work harder,” he said. “Everyone is already working as hard as they can.” Yet doctors are frequently faced with competing agendas. They are tasked with trying to get patients home as quickly as possible—and also with preventing costly readmissions by making certain test results are in before discharging patients.
Dr. Wiese supports a culture in which doctors—from interns to attending physicians—pause to listen to one another and ponder the decisions they make.
“Reflection is the only way out,” he said, adding that that no one who works in a hospital should shy away from voicing concerns about what is best for the patient. The process of working as a team to achieve financial, social and moral goals in health care begins with an open mind.
“We have to be thinking differently,” he said. “We cannot become who we want to be, if we continue to be who we are.”