20 Lessons Learned in Telluride by Heidi Charvet MD

I just returned from an amazing week in Telluride where I not only learned a lot but was also inspired and reinvigorated by the group of colleagues and faculty I met.  One of the most surprising things about the week was that despite our varied backgrounds and geography, we all came together with a common set of interests and experiences (sometimes bad ones) determined to make changes moving forward in our practice.  Thank you to everyone I met this week.

Here are the main lessons I learned during the week as well as some fantastic quotes from the group…

1.) Start every meeting with a story (it’s all about the patient!)

2.) The way we treat nurses when they bring a concern to us that ends up being wrong, is often more important than when they bring a concern that ends up being right (respect and appreciation are key or else you may not hear about the next concern that ends up harming a patient)

3.) The art of negotiation is about “letting them have your way.”

4.) Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

5.) Patients who end up in the “wrong ward” are often the most vulnerable.

6.) Your greatest enemy is complacency.

7.) Informed consent is a process, not an event.  An even better term for it is “shared-decision making”

8.) Doctor language can be disrespectful to patients (whoa!)

9.) Knowledge is power.  Your job is to transfer this power to the patient.

10.) Once you have made your point, shut up and listen.

11.) Seek first to understand and then be understood.

12.) Holding “patient safety event reviews” focused on resident education rather than RCAs, may be a better way to achieve buy-in.

13.) If you want to report something, but the other person involved is resisting, write it together so there will be no misunderstandings or division of blame.

14.) Reporting a patient safety concern is about the INCIDENT (and the harm or potential to harm) not the individuals involved.

15.) There is a role for situational leadership in healthcare.  You lead differently on a sinking ship vs. when making changes about parking at the hospital.

16.) Leaders do not make excuses, they build solutions.

17.) Some is not a number, soon is not a time.

18.) As physicians, sometimes we take steps to treat ourselves and not the patients.

19.) Build trust by saying what you are going to do, and then doing it.

20.) Problem-solving is one of the main barriers to listening among doctors.  We need to be cognizant of this when we find ourselves tuning out.