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Enough is Enough

The time feels right.

Time for change.

Of course, we’re approaching New Year’s Eve, and as usual everyone is making their resolutions and committing to all the things they usually commit to at this time of year. Gym memberships surge. Sales of blenders, juicers, and other devices for pulverizing healthy foods into delectable detox tonics surge.

It seems like everyone is trying the keto diet. And lots of 2019 planners, both paper and electronic, are purchased with the intention of finally getting organized this year.

Looking back over the past year at the state of healthcare, it feels like there has been an increasingly strong and powerful group of voices being raised, calling for change, seeking a better way, trying to ensure that we do right by our patients, our communities, and all of our providers.

Whether on social media, in the popular press, or in medical journals, we have been innovating, transforming, experimenting, demanding, and inspiring.

My New Year’s message this year is that we spend some energy trying to figure out how to unify all of these voices, how to move the mission forward; this incredibly special mission we have, this gift of being allowed to participate in the health of individual patients, their families, our communities, our nation, and indeed the world.

We have power like no other.

People at practices large and small, private and academic, thought leaders and field workers, have been trying new things, new ways to make sure we do the best for our patients. We have struggled with the electronic health record, trying to find ways to bend it to our will, to help make sure that it becomes what we need, not what someone else insists we have. We raised our voices against bureaucracy, meaningless measurement, provider burnout, and so many more issues.

Every day, whether it’s on television, newspapers, radio, Twitter, Facebook, MedPage Today, or wherever else we are communicating about healthcare, we see inspirational stories that tell us we can do this; we can make things better. And we see tragic stories every day that tell us we can do better — we need to do better.

My hope is that the new year finds us poised to bring about change, to come together with a unified collective goal of fixing our fractured healthcare system.

I know this is asking a lot, and that with anything so large there are going to be disparate voices, opposite ends of the political spectrum, competing interests, and plenty of opportunities for success and failure. But we need to re-energize, recharge, reinvigorate our efforts to never stop moving towards the best system that our patients and our providers demand and deserve.

In addition to the challenges of bringing so many different ideas together, is just the general geography of getting us all together, both physically and mentally. Where can this happen? Is there any one online venue that works, that won’t quickly be filled up with the clutter and hate and noise that we often see in comments and responses to posts people make?

There is no one national meeting that we all go to, no single medical society that truly represents us all, that can really propel forward the change that needs to happen.

Would a call for change in a major medical journal be enough to start a revolutionary movement in healthcare? How do we bring together all of the grassroots ideas, all the incredible work being done by so many different people, to stand as a unified front representing those providing healthcare, and say to the powers that be, “Enough is enough.”

I’m not sure that I have the answers to how we do this, but as I’ve said, the time feels right; everyone feels both inspired to make things better, and tired of battling without seeing movement forward. I look forward to helping with this in any way I can, and if you have ideas about how we can do this better, bigger, faster, and stronger, please let me know.

A healthy and happy New Year to you all.


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