A Doctor’s Mission Statement

By Sachin H. Jain, MD

Any time I watch the movie Jerry Maguire and hear Jerry (played by Tom Cruise) recite his famous “mission statement,” my mind travels to how his words might apply to patient care and my life as a new physician. Half for fun and half seriously, I did a minor rewrite of Jerry MacGuire’s mission statement and made it my own.

But as I sit here in the darkness of this call room, the answer to the future is rather obvious. If the game becomes less constant, less furious, less necessary, what will the result be? The result will be more honesty, more focus, fewer patients, but eventually the revenues will be the same.

Because the new day of honesty will create a machine more personalized, more truthful…

The answer is fewer patients. More truth. We must crack open the tightly clenched fist of our screwed-up health care economy and give a little back for the greater good. Eventually revenues will be the same, and that goodness will be infectious. We will have taken our greatness … and turned it into something greater. People always respond best to personal attention; it is the simplest and easiest truth to forget.

Love the job. Be the job.

The phone calls will still come in at 2 a.m., but on the other end of that phone at 2 a.m. will be someone deserving of your time; and you will be honored to share their time. That will be what the road to greatness feels like … a little rocky at first. But think how good it will feel to wake up in the morning and know that when the phone rings, it is not Patient X demanding something we don’t want to give. It will be Patient K, whose life we know and share in.

 Let us be honest with ourselves.

 Let us be honest with them.

 Focus.

I propose this as the very heart of the mission statement that is flying across my screen. It is something pure, from the deepest part of me. It has to be right, and as one of the young doctors in this hospital, I ask to be heard. And if I am wrong, then grab me by the collar and tell me why you disagree. And I will happily talk with you because we are talking about something that matters.

Sachin H. Jain, MD, is a physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Formerly senior adviser to Donald M. Berwick, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Jain was involved in the launch of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation that was chartered by Section 3021 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, briefly serving as its first Acting Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. He received his undergraduate degree in government from Harvard College; his medical degree from Harvard Medical School; and his master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School. He can be reached at shjain@gmail.com.

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