For many years now, I’ve found myself in the position of being a GP and manager. These two roles require different skills, but there is a crossover. I’d like to discuss one aspect of that crossover that I have found – time.
In my upskilling as a manager, I stumbled across the teachings of the doyen of management, Peter Drucker. In his book, “The Effective Executive”, I was introduced to the idea that if you need to get something really done, you need to close the door and focus on that activity, for however long it takes sometimes until real progress is made. Conversely, if you keep getting interrupted, or set aside fifteen minutes a day for four days to do something, you take time to get started, and time to finish off and less progress is made. That is, fifteen minutes times four does not equal one hour. And that one solid hour straight is worth perhaps more than this if ample focus is given throughout. I’ve found this to be very true.
Coming back to general practice, I consider what it is we typically do in our primary care system in Australia. We see patients for brief spurts, less than ten minutes sometimes. We may fix this and fix that, but not as often do we sit down to go through things in a more detailed way. This is lacking and it has its consequences with both patient and GP remaining stuck in a reactive quick-fix model. It’s full of churn. A false economy. As Peter Drucker would have it, the value of all of these fragmented short sessions is less than the whole.
As Atticus Health progresses, across the board, we are moving in a direction in which we seek to really know our patients and their needs, in a deeper sense. To truly connect, understand and provide personalised education. Sometimes this will require a longer or extended consultation. I’d implore you to take it. Your experience going through everything in detail with a doctor, who hopefully is focused and really cares, will be far more valuable.
Over the last few months, as a company, we’ve had to make decisions about our direction, and we’ve chosen a path that supports our patient interactions to be more meaningful, unrushed and therefore effective. We also look forward to providing useful health education at an Atticus community level through digital and physical resources, and at in-person events.
Ultimately, there is a lot of dedicated work in the background at Atticus, occurring to make sure that we can help all our patients more and more, reliably, in the future. I am excited to be on that journey with you.