Doctors Behaving Beautifully: Institute for Healthcare Improvement works to build better doctors

Published on
June 30, 2010

Everybody has worked with a jerk. Someone who steals credit for your work. Someone who berates their employees behind closed doors but turns on the smiles for the executives. Someone who is loathe to admit a mistake.

When that jerk is a physician, the consequences are steeper than bruised egos or misbegotten bonus pay. Patients can end up with the wrong medication. Surgery can be performed on the wrong organ. Someone who had an excellent chance at surviving a disease can be dead in seconds.

Yet doctors rarely take on one of their own. The occurrence is so rare that Public Citizen has noted that, despite studies and investigative stories piling up year after year, the number of doctors who go through the peer review process and are disciplined has stagnated and is a big fat zero in some states.

That's what makes the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's "Unprofessional Behavior Not Permitted Here" program tomorrow so remarkable. A group of physicians and other healthcare professionals are going to talk frankly about the problems of having a rogue doctor in their midst and how to fix those problems. As IHI notes:

[P]hysician and nurse leaders, professional societies, educators, boards of trustees, and regulators are starting to draw a line in the sand about unprofessional behavior. And not just that: many are using the tools of systematic quality improvement to change their organizational cultures. Some of the key components include raising awareness among staff about conduct that's out of bounds; empowering anyone to speak up; and developing appropriate interventions at every step of the way.

So hats off to the participants: Dr. Barry Silbaugh, CEO of the American;  Kevin Stewart, medical director for Winchester; Charlotte Guglielmi, president of the Association; Dr. Gerry B. Healy, Emeritus Healy Chair in Otolaryngology at Children's Hospital Boston; and Dr. Ron Wyatt, a general internist at Huntsville Hospital in Alabama.

The event takes place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 1. You can participate in the discussion by signing up (they call it enrolling) for free with IHI. Click here to sign up.

Maybe Antidote will hear you there!