Posted on July 17, 2018
As an ophthalmologist, I spend a lot of my day telling patients to “focus.”
Focus on the screen. Focus on my finger. Focus on the letters and read them left to right.
When you focus on something, you’re attempting to concentrate solely on that item, and block out whatever noise or background that may be a distraction around it. Focusing makes things clearer and helps you to identify problems.
Focusing also helps you to turn your attention to the positive.
But in this day and age, it’s understandably hard to focus on the positive one hundred percent of the time. You can’t turn on your television, scroll through your email or pick up a newspaper without being bombarded by messages of upheaval and contention. From politics to business to entertainment, division seems to be the name of the game. And I guess if ratings are what you’re after, a shouting contest scores higher than a peaceful conversation where compromise is found.
But when I think about the work of organized medicine, it’s hard to picture getting anything done by being divided. After all, the Kentucky Medical Association was founded to unify the voice of medicine, not to divide it!
That’s why I think in this era of dissolution and controversy, it’s more important than ever for physicians to align and focus our priorities on the things we can do together and the goals we hope to achieve:
Reducing administrative burdens.
Educating the public on health issues.
Advocating for physician and patient friendly policies.
The workload is great but so are our members. And by working together and truly focusing our efforts, I know we can create great change and improve the environment for physicians and patients across the state. KMA’s 2013 strategic planning session (aptly named “Focus Forward”) helped center these priorities and its upcoming 2018 Annual Meeting will echo this theme as well. In addition, KMA has developed several initiatives like AIM for Better Care and its Focus on Flu campaign that have already begun promoting these issues. But we won’t be able to do anything alone. We need our members to stand beside us to help further this important work.
Kentucky’s state motto is “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” I’m not sure there’s ever been a time that has resonated with me more. I also don’t think there’s a better reminder for us as Kentucky physicians to unify and focus on what we can do together for the Commonwealth through the KMA.