Day 1 – Schneider, Novinski and Boon

In medical school, some of my classmates and I, those who sat in the back row, designed a professorial rating system. The metric we created was the “Snooze Factor.”

This is how it worked. Midway through the lecture, we would count the number of students (numerator) who were snoozing and divide that number (denominator) by the total number of students in class. Our premise was that the best professors kept us engaged in the lecture, and the least proficient did not. As a surrogate marker of the overall quality of the course, we would rate professors on their average snooze factor.

I have to admit that these many years after I sat in a medical school lecture hall, I still find myself surveying audiences during presentations at conferences, just to see how everyone is doing. And in my head, I start calculating the snooze factor. I did that today.

The snooze factor was very low. The presentations were exceptional and the content thought-provoking and challenging. No one (well, almost no one) was sleeping.

I was quite surprised to find that Dr. Schneider also used the snooze factor. He commented, “Wonderful meeting. Dr. Schneider stayed awake the whole time.” That’s high praise from any physician, in my estimation.

Dr. Boon likewise was taken with the first two presentations: Generative Governance, and The New Realities of Care Delivery and Accountability. The latter stimulated a robust conversation amongst the physicians about what the potential impact of social media, telemedicine, technology, and self-generating – organizing without organization – and what it might mean for healthcare delivery in the future. In the end we all agreed, we couldn’t predict the future, but that the future was very interesting.

Dr. Novinski also thought that the New Realities presentation was eye-opening. In fact, moved by the presentation to step into new communication tools, he attempted to Tweet me his thoughts about the day. But it failed, for some reason – either end-user failure on my part or misfiring on his part. This is what happens when the Baby Boomers stumble into the territory of the Millennials. Since we fumbled on our foray into the new reality, we reverted to a tried and true method of communication – we talked face-to-face.

Next I’ll give a brief synopsis on the presentations from the first day

Opening Comments – CHI National Leadership Conference – 2012

Travel was a bugger. Due to the vagaries of airline schedules and bad weather, less than half of the expected cadre from Saint Francis were able to attend. This was unfortunate, as Dr. Traci Rauch and Dr. Michael McGahan were in the group that didn’t make it. Drs Schneider, Boon, and Novinski joined me (Dr. Hein) prior to the opening session for breakfast where we reviewed the agenda and speakers. We decided to text or tweet at the end of the day a brief summary of our thoughts regarding the content and what it may mean for us. I will share some of those thoughts in later blogs.


The session line up for the first day was:


  1. Generative Governance,” by William P. Ryan.
  2. The New Realities of Care Delivery and Accountability,” by Kaveh Safavi
  3. Abolishing Health Inequities,” by Joseph R. Betancourt


However, I thought that the key message was delivered early in the day: Our mission creates our focus, sharpening our vision, as leaders. During a period of unprecedented change in healthcare, we can find unprecedented opportunity by adhering to the mission of the organization. In some sense, our mission is prescient of the work we must now accomplish.


Let me share our mission statement with you:   


“The mission of Catholic Health Initiatives is to nurture the healing ministry of the Church by bringing it new life, energy and viability in the 21st century.  Fidelity to the Gospel urges us to emphasize human dignity and social justice as we move toward the creation of healthier communities.”


The last part about creating healthier communities takes on new meaning in an era of integrated care delivery, shared risk, and payment reform. I do agree that while we reside in the midst of a tempest, we can find the eye of the storm by focusing on the mission of the organization and our goal to create health within the communities we serve.


By beginning with our mission, the entire conference was than centered squarely upon what matters – our communities.


Catholic Health Initiatives National Leadership Conference

Saint Francis Medical Center is owned and operated by Catholic Health Initiatives. Several physician leaders from the community and myself are attending the national conference in San Antonio, Texas this week (October 26-27th, 2012).

In an attempt to continue building communication, especially with my colleagues in the community, I will be posting some thoughts and responses to the content of the conference on this blog during the conference.

I can also be followed on twitter: @heindoc

Stay tuned.

On Being a Physician

Much of my day to day routine is translating the mindset of the physician into the administrative side of medicine.

In that regard, some are surprised to hear my perspective on what physicians are feeling and experiencing. This article sums up the general perspective of physicians, even in Grand Island.

These are particularly challenging times in healthcare, and especially challenging for physicians. This breeds uncertainty.

Personally, I see opportunity and hope for physicians, especially as leaders. While I agree that medicine as we know it is coming to the end of an era, the future for physicians who are both system-minded and clinically astute is bright.