HAVE YOU EVER ASKED yourself as a hospitalist: What if I could design the culture of my practice to reflect the values I cherish in my everyday life?

When I think about those values I cherish, and what I value in business relationships in particular, some things come immediately to mind: empowerment, equity, agency, transparency—just to name a few. As a hospitalist medical director and elected board member at Vituity, it’s my privilege to live and exemplify these values in my leadership and daily practice of medicine.

Local practice autonomy
My first brush with the physician ownership model came just after I had completed residency. After residency, I was employed for nine months before our hospital decided to bring in Vituity to manage the hospitalist service. At that time, I never realized a physician-owned partnership was an option for hospitalists. The ideas of democracy, transparency, and running our own practice greatly appealed to me as well.

Autonomy doesn’t mean that I lack support.

Soon after joining Vituity, our practice immediately appreciated several differentiators that felt like a breath of fresh air. One of the most significant was autonomy. Vituity has an incredibly supportive central leadership team and truly prizes local autonomy for its Partners. Whereas in my previous experiences I had to petition the hospital to restructure my team’s shift and call schedules, as a Vituity Partner I’m now able to huddle with my team and help make that decision for ourselves without burdensome oversight.

However, autonomy doesn’t mean that I lack support. My practice has the backing of a national organization with practice management heft. I can pinpoint my priorities and focus on what I do best—caring for my community and providing leadership for my team—while Vituity’s infrastructure expertly handles administrative responsibilities like billing, education, IT, recruiting, and more.

A patient-centric approach to care
Another aspect of the Vituity culture that makes me proud to be a Partner is our focus on the patient. When we put the patient at the center of care delivery, it creates a positive reinforcement loop that makes it a win for everyone involved. For the patient, it means a better overall experience. They’ll be more satisfied and have better follow-up and follow-through on their care. And that also creates alignment with other teams within our hospital and health system.

Vituity recognizes the importance of feeling satisfied as clinician and as a hospitalist. A better experience for us results in less burnout, which is a big deal for everyone right now. At our site, we’re fortunate to have Vituity in our ED, ICU, and post-acute settings. It’s really great to be able to hand off to a Partner and know that we’re all on the same wavelength of putting the patient first and working collaboratively on the progression of their care from pre- to post-hospital stay.

Forging a fulfilling life in medicine
I feel like I lucked into a role and a practice environment that was right for me. But I know this isn’t always the case. To hospitalists in the early stages of their life in medicine, I want to emphasize that it’s critical to move through your career with intention. To those that I mentor, I offer the following advice:

Have a vision for your career. Understand where you want to be in your practice in five, 10, 15 years. If your aim is a leadership position, talk with your medical director or supervisor and let them know. Now is the time to start forging your path.

Be an advocate for patient-centric care. Putting the focus on the patient is always going to be a positive thing with you, your patients, and your hospital. Make your voice heard when it comes to decisions that lead to a better patient experience.

Embrace innovation. The past few years have shown us that new models of care delivery, including virtual care, are here to stay and will continue to grow. This gives hospitalists new tools to use and new skills to develop, and you’ll always be learning, which keeps things fresh.

Join the team that’s transforming healthcare. Explore our job openings at vituity.com/careers.

About the author
Payton McGowen, MDPayton McGowen, MD, serves as the system medical director at HSHS in IL and is an elected member of Vituity’s board of directors. She has been a Vituity Partner since 2014. Her integrated sites were awarded the Culture of Caring Award in 2018 and 2019. Dr. McGowen received her medical degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and completed her internal medicine residency at Saint Louis (MO) University.

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