Creating a vision for your patients’ better health future, beyond the transaction at hand, can provide the impetus they need to comply with your treatment recommendations.
A simple title but I think it packs a punch. At the risk of being a little political, how could anyone not mention the rising momentum of Donald Trump in the US Republican Presidential race? A man who thrives on creating fear with little to no information supplied of a long-term vision for the nation – let alone how it will be accomplished. A man in the middle of my title… I digress and shall leave my political commentary here!
May brings Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, which makes it important to ask the question posed so often by Nutritional Biochemist Dr. Libby Weaver – “why do we do what we do when we know what we know?” A big question which most certainly could be debated for a lifetime.
But we do know a lot. ‘We’ meaning the practitioners; and ‘we’ meaning the patients. And if we don’t know, it has never been easier to find out what we don’t know.
why do we do what we do when we know what we know?
So what stops your patients from acting on what is known or acting to find out what is not? So many people have great answers to these questions – they lie deep in our psyche – but even with this understanding, many of us continue to ignore the advice, data, symptoms, warnings and so on. They ignore Macular Degeneration Awareness Week (22–28 May).
My proposal is that something is missing. And that something is someone who is working with us, the patient, to set our future-self vision. The one we imagine, the one we aspire to, the one we dream of – the one most of us need support in setting and tracking. What if the simple conversation of setting a vision of health between practitioner and patient could help? What if vision trumps fear or at least helps us along?
What if your practice had the conversation with your patients to create a vision for a better health future – one beyond the transaction at hand? What if, as part of every eye examination, we painted the picture of our patient’s future self? Then offered to help make a plan to get there? This is what all the great self-help books and organisations spruik… Could we manifest good health by seeing a better future and busting through the fears and beliefs that stand in our way? A practice that sees the whole system holistically offers vision, no pun intended.
In my book, On Purpose, I discuss how vision should give everyone the ability to imagine his or her purpose fulfilled. Often vision gets linked to visionaries and charisma but everyone’s vision can stand on its own two feet easily, so long as there is a director to pull it all together.
A simple strategy – your cunning plan – will help guide you to achieve your vision for your practice and your life.
But wouldn’t it be great if all your patients had a documented life health plan as well? One that they shared with their medical professionals – tracking, calibrating and managing – to meet their vision of a healthy life?
When working in large organisations, change is more rapidly adopted when everyone is clear on why we are doing what we are doing (the purpose), on the long term vision and when leaders’ behaviours align with the purpose and vision. They eat their own dog food so to speak. What if organisational change management practices were embedded into other aspects of our life such as our health?
So many questions to consider.Eighteen months ago my wonderful GP sat me down and let me know that if something didn’t change in my life our next visit was going to be news I did not want to hear. My next illness was going to be something she may not be able to help with. BOOM. A vision of my future-self… just not the one I was imagining. One of my character strengths is I take advice well, particularly when given to me from people I trust. I took this advice and changed everything. What I ate, what I did for work, how I managed my stress, how much exercise I did – you know the drill.
Knock on wood I have not been sick since that visit. I had a health check six months ago and this is what my GP said: ‘keep doing what you are doing’. So I have. I am no saint and I certainly slip off the ladder but I get back up because I am now climbing to a vision – a future-self – one which is not going to my GP with something that cannot be fixed. So what is the moral of my story? I knew what I knew. I needed someone to help me SEE. A vision. A double entendre in this article for sure.
So let’s focus on setting big visions for our future while pursuing our vision for great patient eye health. Let’s coach our patients to follow all the advice during the week of Macular Degeneration Awareness so that at the end of the week – our patients know what they know so they can do what they should do!
Karen James is a social entrepreneur who has risen through the ranks of the global corporate world. From building with her team a 10,000-strong community of women within a leading bank, to integrating not-for-profit leadership lessons into corporate boardrooms and growing a company from a turnover of $9 million to $100 million. Her debut book, On Purpose, applies the same pragmatic logic to timeless questions around creating purpose and building an organisation with humanity at its heart. To read more about Karen James and to purchase her book, go to: www.karentjames.com