Three ways we’re going and growing through COVID-19

Three ways we’re going and growing through COVID-19

COVID-19 has asked a lot of us. We have had to take quick and decisive action in several key areas of the business. We have placed several projects on hold and refined our operations to prioritise safety above all else. Throughout this process of moment to moment decision-making, we have learnt a lot as a practice, and stood tall as responsible and safety-aware citizens of our medical neighbourhood.

In this update, I’ll be sharing the three things that I believe have kept us going and growing, and some thoughts around our future direction as a practice.

1. A Cohesive Team

We have discovered how closely our success as a business is linked to our cohesiveness and psychology as a team. In a world dominated by uncertainty, we have had to find new ways to offer safety, hope and inspiration to our patients and to each other. We have had candid conversations about our individual vulnerabilities, and have consistently brought our full and authentic selves to work. This openness and humanity that exists within our workplace has meant that we have all had moments of deep connection with each other and by extension, this has enhanced our capacity to connect deeply with our patients.

2. A Focus on Kindness

Gurleen and I have had conversations with our team, our patients and our community regarding what you are doing to take care of yourselves during this challenging time. It has been reassuring to see a common thread emerging of the “one thing” you do to stay grounded (your “anchor”). Overwhelmingly, you have taught us what it means to be kind to your self and to others.

In this spirit, we have adopted our own self-care habits. Personally, I took up the challenge to run 100km in the month of July, and used my morning run as my consistent daily ritual. Having dedicated the last few years to lifting weights and quick bursts of cardiovascular exercise, running was quite foreign to me, and the prospect of running 3 to 5km each day almost insurmountable. However, by taking on and successfully completing the challenge with a day to spare, I taught my mind that even the toughest mental barriers can be overcome. I have continued this healthy habit and now channel this energy into showing up in the right way each day for my team, my patients, my community and my family.

By modelling healthful behaviours within and outside of the workplace, we can all work together to build a culture where self-care and self-compassion are valued, encouraged and commonplace. We are well placed to facilitate the extension of this culture into the lives of our patients, so that they see us not only as trusted advisors, but as health role models. Indeed, it is difficult for us to counsel our patients about behaviours that we ourselves do not practice.

3. A Clear and Compelling Vision

In a world seemingly dominated by fear and uncertainty, it is not uncommon for feelings of helplessness and hopelessness to surface. Finding clarity amidst chaos is extraordinarily challenging, particularly when coupled with the grim reality that others have lost so, so much to, or through, this pandemic.

Why are we here? Why do we get up in the morning? What drives us? These are the questions that we have needed to ask constantly throughout the last few months. The antidote to burnout is a compelling vision of the future, and we would like that future to be the embodiment of our core values, our dreams and our aspirations. At its foundation, breathing life into our vision must enable us to positively and proactively impact the lives of the people we exist to serve.

Are our core values, compassion and innovation, still relevant today? I believe they are, and will explore this in a subsequent article.

Where to next?

During our first year at Rosedale, Gurleen and I invested heavily in the domain of engaged leadership. Our team, patients and community have come forward to welcome us with open arms as the new leaders of the practice.

We are proud to have built upon our credibility and brand as a business, and have established a strong online presence and digital footprint. COVID-19 has accelerated our uptake of health technology, and we are now well placed to deliver care virtually. We started our journey wanting to do away with the fax and with paper, and COVID-19 taught us that even bricks and mortar are optional. We still believe that the heart of general practice is in relationship-based, in-person care. However the unique opportunity to take care to our patients has renewed our commitment to providing “Care Outside the Box”.

In line with our vision, we have built our reputation as a world-class provider of health care, as a great place to work for our team, and as a quality training practice for our medical students from Macquarie University, Western Sydney University and University of Sydney.

We have also implemented key population health programs. We have partnered with Western Sydney Diabetes to offer Diabetes Case Conferences to our patients, and have grown our practice’s relationship with our Primary Health Networks – WentWest and Sydney North Health Network. We are in discussions with our local partners about our involvement in new and innovative programs such as HeartConnect, and expect to add even greater value to the services we are able to offer our patient population.

Importantly, our participation in these projects is grounded in our principled approach. We stand for a higher purpose – with everything we do, we aim to improve the lives of our patients, our team and our community. We lean into compassion and innovation as both our core values and our key strategic levers. However, if we are to continue to grow as a business, we need to have a clear picture of what success in these two areas look like, and define some key metrics around this.

We recognise “that the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”. We stand by our desire to be the best in the world when it comes to innovation and compassion. As we gain further clarity and understanding of our shared purpose, we accept that our focus may evolve or transform. We also recognise the key area in which we are consistently outperformed by our competitors – convenience.

During the pandemic, we have been particularly conscious of our limited resources, and have leaned into our strategy of doing the best that we can for our current patients, ensuring their care is managed proactively, holistically and comprehensively. Our data so far has suggested that we have excelled in key areas such as the delivery of influenza vaccines to our most vulnerable patients.

It is very easy to brush the idea of convenience aside, and I have found myself a few times saying that we are not a “convenience” practice. However, on the flip side of convenience is access. And it is absolutely a problem when our patients are unable to access their healthcare team, particularly at a time that health care is in such great need. So increasingly we do recognise this as a problem that we need to address.

We recognise that in our efforts to provide comprehensive and personalised care to our patients we often run late. This is also unacceptable and disrespectful to our patients who we understand live very busy lives. We would like to say that we respect your time. More than this, we would like to show you that we respect your time and we would like to take very deliberate action to ensure that this is an area in which we can improved.

But we can’t improve what we don’t measure, and so during the month of August, we will be focusing our attention on “building block two” – data-driven improvement. We will set out a number of key metrics and use data to drive insights and further improvements in the way we manage our business and care for our patients. We look forward to sharing these insights with you, our valued community, in our next update.

Best wishes,

Jas

An interesting time to be a medical student!

An interesting time to be a medical student!

Our medical student from Macquarie University has just completed her placement with us, and had this lovely message to share.

It is a privilege for us as a practice to contribute to the development of the next generation of doctors.

We would like to thank our patients for being so welcoming and encouraging.

It takes a village to raise a doctor, and being able to learn from you and participate in your care provides our students with an extraordinary opportunity to grow into the type of doctors that will go on to make a genuine difference in the lives of others, as well as find meaning and joy in their own careers.

Whilst it has been a rather odd time in our history, our student learnt that care never stops, team work makes the dream work and that there are many ways to practice medicine!

Crazy Socks 4 Docs

Crazy Socks 4 Docs

Getting into the spirit of #CrazySocks4Docs Day today, with our fabulous receptionists Denise and Cristina stealing the show. The last few months have seen an extraordinary amount of change and our ladies have kept their head held high amidst the numerous challenges that have come their way. Team work makes the dream work!

Behind the Scenes – Data Driven Improvement

Behind the Scenes – Data Driven Improvement

Rosedale Medical Practice prides itself on providing “high performing primary care” with four key principles at its foundation:

✅ Engaged Leadership
✅ Data-driven Improvement that respects the privacy and confidentiality of our patients
✅ Empanelment
✅ Team-Based Care

By the end of April 2020, we provided influenza vaccines to 79.03% of our active patients over the age of 65. This means that we exceeded the average for our region by a solid 20.25%.

What does this mean for you?

Your journey doesn’t stop when you leave our practice. Neither should your health care. Our ‘Care Outside the Box’ philosophy is a commitment to reach outside the four walls of our practice, and provide you with all the resources that you and your family need to make the right decisions for your health.

We will continue to share our approach with you through updates to our website as well as our Facebook posts. Stay tuned.

Best wishes,

Team Rosedale

Urgent Message for All Patients

Urgent Message for All Patients

Monday 23rd March 2020

Rosedale Medical Practice will no longer be offering face to face appointments. There will be very few exceptions to this, which will need to be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Effectively immediately, if you are booking an appointment with our practice, you will be offered a Telehealth phone consultation. For the next 6 months, telephone consults will be the default appointment type. If you have already booked a face to face consult, we ask that you reconsider the need to visit us in person.

For patients that require video consults, these will be offered by Dr Saini and may be extended to other doctors if needed.

We don’t want people to avoid medical care, but avoiding the surgery when possible is a very good idea. You could be at risk of becoming unwell from people that are carrying the virus but are otherwise well. We call this asymptomatic transmission.

Reducing the amount of physical visits to our practice will help us to provide face to face care for things such as wound dressings, childhood immunisations and other medical necessities. If you feel that you require a face-to-face visit with your GP, please call our reception on 02 9680 9644 to discuss this.

Details on eligibility for bulk-billing, and our reduced telehealth fees are available at http://www.rosedalemedicalpractice.com.au/telehealth

Lots of people have asked about flu vaccines – we still don’t have stock but will be looking to roll them out rapidly, and safely, as soon as we have them in hand.

Best wishes,

Team Rosedale

On leadership and compassion during COVID19

On leadership and compassion during COVID19

A few thoughts on the global Coronavirus pandemic, inspired by some very thoughtful questions from Roz Lindsay from Engage your Healthcare Leadership. Thank you Roz.

These are extraordinarily stressful times. We are clearly amidst a global crisis. It takes an immeasurable amount of energy to keep our fingers on the pulse. We are constantly scanning the media, press and emerging research articles to continue to formulate and revise our approach. Each day is different.

In most instances, fear is rational and there is good cause for it. We will see a spike in the number of deaths, and need to be very clear that even a day’s delay means that we add to this number.

I urge my colleagues to consider the broader impact this is having on our people. Behavioural psychology dictates that we will do all in our power to maintain a sense of control over each situation we encounter. We also react adversely to any possibility of something being taken away from us. The brawls we see over toilet paper will often relate to both of these basic tenets. This is not the time to judge or criticise. We must understand why certain behaviours occur and modify our environment to address the underlying factors. Naming, shaming and blaming is at best, unhelpful, and at worst, severely harms our nation’s response to this pandemic.

For small businesses, a steady and deliberate investment in staff morale is a priority and leaders must constantly communicate with their teams to ensure that a clear plan is readily available and understood by all. We must also be clear about the level of uncertainty that exists, and provide an empathetic, listening ear as new problems and issues emerge that necessitate quick and decisive action.

This is an important time to use the right language, and the right tones of speech. Chris Voss in his book ‘Never Split the Difference’ speaks of the “Late Night FM DJ Voice”, a downward deflection in speech that alludes a sense that you are in control. Put simply, there are techniques that we can learn that help us to become more effective at communicating. I believe it was Brené Brown, author of ‘Dare to Lead’ that stated, “we are responsible for both what we say and how it lands.” Her thoughts on the power of vulnerability are more relevant now than ever before (https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare)

We also must look to examples of positive leadership. Clearly Dr Tony Bartone, Dr Harry Nespolon and Dr Ewen McPhee have been extraordinary in their leadership style, and it is pleasing to watch how well they have handled each situation Australia has encountered this year. These are just a few names amidst many that come to mind at this critical time in Australia’s history. Much to learn.

This is also a time where we must look after the person to the left of us and the person to the right of us, ping Simon Sinek who has taught us this so well in each of his books.

Australians have banded together before, and we know our people are extraordinarily capable of navigating all manner of challenges.

Let’s also not forget to practice and teach self-care and self-compassion. Continue to take those moments to pause, reflect, be present with your loved ones, with yourself. Go for a run, a walk, a swim. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Add colour to your palate, “taste the rainbow”. Personally, I have attended the gym almost every day for the last 2 years, perhaps longer. It has been extraordinary for both my physical and mental health. I’ve now made a conscious and considered decision to set up a gym at home so that I can continue to work out at home, whilst reducing the spread of COVID19. We all have a role to play.

Fasten your seatbelt, it’ll be a bumpy ride. But we’re all in it together, and the plane must land safely for all of us.