Day Two At Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camp

Today’s final discussions revolved around what three tangible things we as residents can do when we return to our respective programs to improve shared decision-making and improve our ability to communicate in the case of patient harm. I was very encouraged that there was actually very little variation from each of the breakout small groups. We all seemed polarized to some very clearly defined, and what seemed like obvious, solutions to improved patient safety in our respective corners of the world.

The opportunity that I see after completing this exercise is that although we can all make small incremental changes in our respective practices, how can we reshape the practice of medicine to make our small individual changes part of a bigger and more permanent cultural change? If all 28 of the scholars would communicate with 10 colleagues about the importance of shared decision-making and informed consent we could make a small change. But if we made our goals for next week bigger and decided to change the entire process for all residents for generations to come, we may succeed in making lasting change and forever changing the practice of medicine related to these issues.

Considering the very talented group of resident scholars that we have, I believe that we could make broad sweeping changes to the practice of medicine. Although these changes would not be easy and would take time, diligence and perseverance, we really have nothing to lose. It would be incredible to leave a mark on the culture of medicine that would be lasting.

There is a concept of a massive, almost unachievable goal that is called the BHAG. For those who are not familiar with this, I would encourage you to learn about it. The acronym stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Why not make goals as big as you could imagine. The worst that could happen is that you did not achieve the goal and would fall short, but this would be so much more monumental that making a manageable goal that would not likely expand your skills, knowledge or make a lasting change.

In the upcoming weeks and months, I challenge my fellow residents to think big. Think outside of the box. Imagine what would be your ideal for patient safety and work as a team to create initial steps toward these goals.