20 physician resolutions for 2016

Each January marks a fresh start, a jumping off point to propel our new resolves into the New Year. While many will resolve to actually step inside the gym a few times or vow to start writing that novel this year, we wondered what physicians planned to set their sights on in 2016.

Doximity, a professional networking site for physicians, asked 20 physicians for their New Year's resolutions and shared them exclusively with Becker's Hospital Review. Here are their responses.

Tony J. C. Wang, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology, Columbia University Medical Center (New York City).   
My resolution is to keep researching and finding better ways to improve the survival of brain tumor patients by developing a solid clinical research program with a goal of generating practice-changing evidence.

Prateek Mendiratta, MD, hematology oncology clinical associate in medicine, Duke Cancer Institute (Durham, N.C.).
Continue to provide state of the art care in oncology by trying to stay current with all the breakthroughs and provide humanistic compassionate care to patients battling cancer.

Tipu V. Khan, MD, family medicine residency faculty, Ventura (Calif.) County Medical Center's family medicine residency program, clinical instructor of medicine, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (Los Angeles).       
My resolution for this year would be to get our IT on board with our EMR to allow us to data mine better. One of the benefits of an EMR is the ability to chart review and data mine faster and more efficiently. However, many EMRs are slow to provide support to help physicians and their IT team navigate the steps in data mining via their EMR. I am an academic physician with a particular interest in quality improvement and being able to data mine is a fundamental necessity that I hope our EMR will help us with this year.

Nafea Zayouna, MD, staff gastroenterology, St. John Macomb Hospital (Detroit).
Easier and faster patient care and follow up. Regardless of the effort it takes. It's a balance of reciprocal communication between physicians and patients.

Rowan Paul, MD, sports medicine/interventional regenerative non-operative orthopedics, California Pacific Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine (San Francisco).
My hope is to leverage existing and emerging technological advances including Doximity to drive my practice towards being 100 percent paperless. Currently, because I have a busy practice with a lot of second opinions, I go through at least 75 to 100 pieces of paper a day when you add facesheets, intake forms, referrals, outside imaging, lab slips, and letters to referring physicians. That is a lot of trees over the years and certainly not the most time efficient from a healthcare delivery standpoint. We have a good EHR but it is not enough for communication outside of my immediate physician network.

Edward C. Chao, DO, associate clinical professor of medicine, University of California, San Diego, VA San Diego Healthcare System.
My resolution is to continue to use motivational interviewing to exhort and help patients (especially those with diabetes) who are ready to change. This starts with implementing just one change and then building momentum from there so patients don't feel overwhelmed. If they're ready and motivated from within, positive change will occur, and it's less likely it will be temporary (like many New Year's resolutions).

Alex W. Cantafio, MD, abdominal transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon, University of Tennessee Medical Center (Knoxville).   
Increase growth while cutting cost and maintaining quality healthcare with superior outcomes.

Jay N. Yepuri, MD, partner and executive committee member, Digestive Health Associates of Texas (Plano).           
From a personal standpoint, I will focus on maintaining a healthy work/life balance for the benefit of my family and my patients. As a physician, I will continue to serve my patients with integrity and dedication. From a practice management standpoint, I will focus on helping my practice leverage its size and scale to become more efficient at providing quality care for our patients and to develop new service lines that will benefit our patients and add value.

Dennis Grech, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine section chief, ambulatory anesthesia, director of anesthesiology, Center for Ambulatory Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (Newark, N.J.).
For 2016, my resolution would be to connect more with my patients. When a long list of cases are scheduled in my operating rooms each morning, I often overlook and undervalue the best part of my day: Getting to know my patients and sharing stories of each others lives.

Today's healthcare environment is an ever changing entity. Rapidly evolving medical technologies, information data systems and the recent transition to ICD-10, can make even the most ardent physician's head spin. However, one thing that won't change is the bond that develops between patient and physician. For the anesthesiologist, this bond is of a rarer type. It is intimate, immediate and intense. I find that taking 10 minutes to get to know my patients prior to surgery can reduce a lot of fear and anxiety. This human connection never gets old nor wears thin.

Christopher Khorsandi, MD, founder of VIPPlasticSurgery.com (Las Vegas).
To continue growing our practice and serve more happy patients. We have seen demand for our services swell in the last year and it is a trend that will continue through 2016. My challenge is to keep up with that demand, while maintaining exceptional patient care. We will accomplish this by streamlining workflows in the office and employing technology to organize our healthcare data.

Trupti Gokani, MD,board-certified neurologist, founder of Zira Mind and Body Center (Glenview, Ill.).
My goal for this year is to increase awareness of ancient medicine principles and teach others how the combine eastern philosophy with western approaches. I will be speaking to physicians, health coaches, physical therapists, medical students and eastern practitioners in the following year.

My goal is to share this with as many as possible in hopes to reduce the number of patients suffering with migraines (my passion), mood disorders, sleep issues, fatigue, digestive issues and more. I use an integrative, systems based approach to balance the mind and body.

Manan J. Shah, MD, child and adolescent psychiatry, Calvert Memorial Hospital (Prince Frederick, Md.).
Improve care coordination with other providers of patients. With technological advances like Doximity it has finally gotten easier to do this. Good care coordination includes communicating with other healthcare providers of a patient to ensure everyone is on the same page, and patient safety is ensured with lesser chances of medication errors or drug interactions. It is a well-known but infrequently practiced component of healthcare delivery, so I would like to raise more awareness about it and practice it myself regularly.

Amit Keswani, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine, department of cardiology, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (Nashville, Tenn.), Vanderbilt Heart-Columbia (Tenn.).
To continue my educational growth as a physician, community leader and healthcare activist. Specifically this year, I plan on incorporating wearable technology into my day-to-day practice with patients. I have started wearing a pedometer and calorie tracker and plan on showing my progress to my patients on a daily basis in the clinic setting. I also have started exercising at a local gym or with our cardiac rehabilitation patients so I can be visible to my patient population and be the doctor that practices what he preaches.

Omar S. Khokhar, MD, staff gastroenterologist, OSF St Joseph Medical Center (Bloomington, Ill.).
Patient experience with their physician visit is rapidly becoming a quality metric. This is my practice's top priority for 2016 — to ensure that every patient contact with our office (phone, email, visit) is prompt and seamless, with respect for their time. We want patients to be satisfied with their care in their time of need.

J. Saveika, MD, physical medicine and rehabilitation, Bayview Physicians Group (Chesapeake, Va.).
I actually made a distinct goal based on an interview that I saw with Manny Pacquio. He said that he runs 10 miles a day, does 1,500 situps and 1,000 pushups a day...When he's not training for a fight. I currently do 1,000 situps, 500 pushups and run an hour a day (around 8 miles). I like to have concrete objectives and I think it would be cool for a doctor at my age to be able to meet Pacquio's basic not-in-training workout.

Russell Russo, MD, sports medicine-trained orthopedic surgeon, Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine (New Orleans).
To simplify our EHR and make documentation easier and quicker. Almost all orthopedic surgeons I speak to complain about the same thing: EHR is painful for the patient and the physician. It also makes previously easy to read notes look like a copy of War & Peace where pertinent information is hidden. I hope to work with different EHRs to find one where surgeons can put the focus back on the patient and allow the surgeon to quickly and completely document the encounter. It's much easier said than done.

Rafael Lugo, MD, general surgeon at the Methodist ‎Houston Hospital Physician Network.  
Increase patient reach out and focus on prevention and helping patients establish healthy habits. I believe that every doctor should have a commitment to improve communication with patients better utilizing all the tools available. We should in general see our patients as a whole and not just a disease. This way we should be able to encourage healthy habits and prevention instead of treating the disease only. We should be committed to improving the general health and that way, optimize our patients outcomes. Prevention will ultimately translate into savings.

As doctors, we need to always look to help improve our patients' nutrition habits, encourage exercise and make an effort to assure that patients understand their conditions and ability to improve the outcome, not only through treatments and medications, but also by maximizing our genetic potential through a healthy lifestyle. As doctors, and important members of the community, it is important to reach out to the community and go beyond the office. Teach the community and be an example. Live a healthy and balanced life so that way we can have a more significant impact on what we preach.

Arash Kardan, MD,medical director of nuclear medicine, Grandview Medical Center, Southview Medical Center, assistant professor of medicine at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (Dayton, Ohio) and Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine    (Athens).
Develop a pilot clinical program for cardiac PET myocardial perfusion testing at Charles F. Kettering (Ohio) Memorial Hospital. The goal of the initiative is to make the most accurate, advanced technology available to our patients, while simultaneously reducing effective radiation doses. Our hope is to justify the pilot and get the resources to eventually integrate the program in other hospitals in the Kettering Health Network.

Julian Guitron, MD,thoracic surgery, University of Cincinnati.
Learn new techniques, gain more referral sources and improve peer-to-peer communications. As physicians, particularly the kind doing procedures, the learning and implementation of a new technique that may involve new technology or techniques is highly desirable! The tremendous access to information this day and age makes it difficult to find all the valuable and pertinent information akin to drinking water from a fire hydrant. Doximity has become a place where the customized information and networking has allowed to distill the information much more efficiently which allows us to be more effective and strategic in our professional development. The next point is the blood line of our practice, which is the source of referrals. With Doximity I have been able to establish contact with physicians outside of my immediate professional circle allowing me to establish relationships that allow the discussion and referral of patients. This is a very significant benefit of the network.

Tomas Ignacio Munoz, MD, neonatal and perinatal medicine fellow, Loyola University Medical Center (Maywood, Ill.).
Read one journal article a day, at least five days a week. Sometimes as physicians we get caught up in work and do not have enough time to read and keep ourselves updated. I feel that by reading an article a day I could develop the speed to read more each time and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in medicine, which is what my patients deserve.


More articles on integration and physician issues:

St. John's Hospital to cut physician residents and fellows: 4 things to know
University of Virginia pairs up RNs, MDs in new leadership training program
Former Mayo physician survives 16-hour crawl through frozen field

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