Collaborative Coaching

The inspiration for today’s post comes from Dr. John Mandrola, who wrote in What good coaching has to do with medicine that in both, the fundamental tenet remains:

Above all else, do no harm

In Collaborative Co-Mentoring, a general surgeon who was promoted to section chief, noted the importance of collaborative coaching:

We’re not stupid- we just need to be trained

The practice of medicine, as my yoga teacher reminds me, is like the practice of yoga, in that mastery occurs over time, not the first time we see a pose.  Yet, new ways of accelerating learning give me hope.

In 5 Ways Technology Is Transforming Health Care, the author mentions Doximity, whose purpose is to help doctors stay in touch and use social networking to improve patient care.

In 4 fixes that will boost your bottom line, I wrote that the fuss in Washington causes temporary amnesia that healthcare, like politics, has a local focus.  Physician champions networked together, providing formal and informal collaborative coaching, can be a lasting force for embracing and promoting sustainable change:

  • A CEO at a Rocky Mountain tertiary care facility asked the Medical Advisory Panel at his hospital for advice on how to cut supply costs. The panel worked together and with an interdisciplinary supply cost reduction group to achieve more than $500,000 in ongoing supply cost savings in the purchase and utilization of orthopedic implants, heart valves, radioisotopes, and anesthetic and cardiovascular medications.  While this task force may not seem novel, it represented the first time that physicians and administrators at this hospital had worked together to improve clinical and financial performance and represented a cultural change. (“Making hospital-physician collaboration work.” Healthcare Financial Management. 2005. 59(10):102-108)
  • As I described in Collaborative Compact, a compact is a social contract that clarifies mutual expectations and helps both groups come to a shared vision that will improve care for their community. The compact for Wisconsin’s Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group provides an operational definition of expectations regarding mutual respect, integrity, development, excellence and stewardship. Within two years of adopting the compact, they became a Thomson Reuters Top 100 Hospital System.

Collaborative coaching is an integral part of surgical training.  We all remember trusted mentors who guided us through our first procedures and taught us how to care for patients.  In 21st Century Healthcare Economics: How Will My Practice Change?, I wrote that the collaborative coaching required to get our economic house in order will become an integral part of our lifelong learning process.

As always, I welcome your input to improve healthcare collaboration where you work. Please send me your comments and suggestions for improvement.


Kenneth H. Cohn
© 2013, all rights reserved


I have not received any compensation for writing this content. I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.


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