PFCC Leadership Conference recap

By David Wood, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Beaumont Health

Earlier this month, I attended Beaumont's PFCC Leadership Conference. This program provided useful content but also much discussion. This year, I was not only an attendee, but I was also a presenter who had the opportunity to engage with nearly 300 Beaumont leaders who were seeking messages that could propel Beaumont to its 2022 Moonshot goal of being the nation’s leader for patient and family-centered care. Many of this year’s speakers, me included, took a personal look at PFCC. I, for example, shared the memory of my father’s care in the days before his passing. My experience was not from the eyes of a physician, but instead from those of a family member. Now I am even more certain that PFCC needs to be part of the Beaumont culture.

Patient and family-centered care must be more emotional and less transactional. This is likely the reason so many speakers chose to share their personal stories. Like Leilani Schweitzer who is the assistant vice president of Communication & Resolution at Stanford Health Care. She shared the experience of how her son died after a series of medical mistakes occurred. She now works in Risk Management at the same hospital where those errors happened. Her perspective of disclosure, transparency and collaboration resonated with the audience.

Jeff Schlaudecker, M.D., MEd, FHM, from the University of Cincinnati shared his perspective as an associate professor of Family & Community Medicine. His focus was on the benefit of the patient voice. It is key to align with the principles of PFCC: dignity and respect, information sharing, participation and collaboration. As the chair of the Kautz Family Foundation of Geriatric Medical Education, Dr. Schlaudecker also explored best practices and approaches to addressing challenges associated with PFCC culture transformation, providing a look at our aging population.

Beaumont’s Executive Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant, DNP, RN, gave us the nuts and bolts of building and sustaining a PFCC culture. Her points on empowering our patients were spot on. Once we can eliminate barriers, we can have true partnerships with our patients and families.

Changing gears a bit, Beaumont’s Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer Aaron Gillingham presented, “Where am I?” He gave us an interesting look at conscious leadership. There is a concept about the way we think and behave called ‘Above and Below’ the line. If we are leading Above the Line, we are in a place of learning, growing and thriving. If we lead Below the Line, we are victims with things being done to us; we are operating out of fear. Conscious leaders spend more time above the line. Awareness is half the battle. We need to realize when we are operating Below the Line and challenge ourselves to shift out of blame mode and take the high road. As a leader, you should remember to ask yourself, "Where am I?”

Beyond the formal presentations, attendees enjoyed a panel discussion of leaders from across our organization sharing the challenges they are facing and improvements they are making daily while working toward our Moonshot. The event ended with brainstorming breakout sessions where we looked to break barriers. Topics included “Becoming a best place to work and practice medicine,” “Teamwork and communication,” “Time management and competing priorities” and “Transparency and openness.” Each team contributed ideas to help us provide a path forward.

This conference fell at the perfect time as I consider a theme for my communications in 2019. As physicians, you take the lead with innovation and expertise in our hospitals and practices. I hope you will also take the lead in modeling PFCC concepts for your care teams. We can make a difference and help Beaumont achieve its Moonshot goal.

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