Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting past cynicism

For my younger readers who did not understand the Star Trek references in my introductory blog, I will footnote this time!
Objectivity and logic is very important when making medical and financial decisions.  Obviously the TV commercials that give you not one, but two, of the widgets if you buy in the next 10 minutes count on your impulsive nature overriding your logical assessment as to whether you really need the widget.  But the last thing a patient, or Payer, needs is for a treatment plan to be based on the impulse of treating a subjective complaint without thoroughly, logically, and objectively evaluating every potential option available, starting with (and possibly returning to repeatedly) the plan that has the best outcomes with the least side effects.  In this case, you need the capacity of Mr. Spock's dispassionate assessment.
But, on the other hand, a passionate approach to decisions and the way one lives life is also very important.  Not to the extent that some sports fans go, like the Giants fan that was beaten up by Dodgers fans after the baseball season opener in 2011.  But the intense desire to do the right thing, sometimes when the right thing is not logical or easy.  In this case, you need the ability to move forward against all odds, like Captain James T. Kirk.

In our Work Comp industry, the easy claims (slight injury, patients motivated to return to health and work quickly) are not the ones that occupy the time of the various stakeholders.  Instead, the claims where the patient is unmotivated, or the treating physician is a “bad actor”, or the plaintiff’s attorney is litigating everything … those are the ones that occupy the most time, create the most frustration, and can create an attitude of cynicism or ambivalence.  That makes it easy to lose both objectivity and passion, which reduces the ability to make good decisions.
Our organization received a compliment (at least from my perspective) yesterday from one of our customers.  When asked why he was impressed (and he does not impress easily), the immediate response was “because you care”.  Our passion to do the right thing, clinical for the patient and financial for the Payer, was evident to him during our interactions.  The challenge, for all of us, is to maintain both objectivity and passion even though our daily circumstances might try to steal that away.

In this together – Mark Pew

On Twitter @PRIUM1

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