To collaborate means that the relationship is a partnership. We accept that the individual is the expert on themselves and that we understand how to ask the questions needed to create the journey. This isn’t a process we do “to” someone or a task that we do “for” someone; it is to be done “with” one another. Not teacher and pupil, nor counselor and client, this isa partnership of equals… a dance to create. As time froze in that horrible moment with my son, my “self” fell away. All that existed in that agonizing eternal moment was him. The sum of our experiences together, the moments spent playing as a toddler, teaching him to drive, my dreams for his future. He was the only being in my world. To save him was my only goal. Without such a grip-ping and forced emergency, we still must be willing to let ourselves fall away and exist only for those we are helping to change, or we will not succeed as an organization or as a team.
In hospital settings, we have been forced into almost universal and constant isolation-like procedures. In group offices, the pace of face-to-face patient visits has dropped precipitously, and we have responded by jumping into a world of telemedicine that many of us were unprepared for. Yet in all of these forced changes, incredible opportunity abounds. How we react to these changes deter-mines a) how strong our team emerges, b) how much our relationships with our clients are strengthened, and c) how much of this forced innovation we are able to leverage in our near future.
Telemedicine is tougher than face-to-face medicine. Video—no matter the resolution—is no substitute for eyes and hands. Just try to palpate through an iPhone! Secondary indicators that are self-reported cannot completely substitute—diagnostically—for primary indicators gathered by the physician. However, necessity does the work of courage in this case, and when it is all we are left with, we praise the Lord that we have the video in a secure computing environment that we can use! Many of the tools and methods we are forced to use presently can be used in the near future to extend and deepen our practice.
My doctor had my most recent visit with me via telemedicine, and though a routine follow-up, it felt just as professional as an in-person visit. A local hospital outpatient oncology unit is doing curbside injections for those existing patients who tolerate them well (hormone blockers, bone marrow stimulation, and hematopoiesis stimulation). Using these methods to reduce overhead to the patient (where it makes sense) will strengthen practice and differentiate care when we emerge from this present darkness.
Now more than ever, we must focus on one another. Just as lifelong bonds are forged under fire in a battle-field foxhole, so will team bonds and norms be reformed as we weather this storm together. Our team cohesion can be higher as we emerge from this change and our trust for one another deeper than it has ever been. May it be so for each of us, and Godspeed.