Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

C-Suite's Culture of Care

Image of U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray (right), Brooke Army Medical Center commanding general and an infectious disease physician, and Dr. Evan Renz, deputy to the commander for quality and safety and a general surgeon, stop to compare notes during Saturday morning rounds at BAMC on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Dec. 18, 2021. (Courtesy Photo). U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray (right), Brooke Army Medical Center commanding general and an infectious disease physician, and Dr. Evan Renz, deputy to the commander for quality and safety and a general surgeon, stop to compare notes during Saturday morning rounds at BAMC on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Dec. 18, 2021. (Courtesy Photo)

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS

It can be a balancing act, but senior leaders at Brooke Army Medical Center make it a priority to carve out time for clinical care.

When asked why they do it, their responses share a common theme: "It's all about the patients."

"We have to have an attitude in the command suite just like everywhere else in the hospital that patient care comes first," said Air Force Col. Heather Yun, deputy commander for medical services and an internal medicine and infectious disease physician. "I put clinical time on the calendar first and then work everything else around it."

Yun is just one of several senior leaders at BAMC who sees the benefits of staying clinically active despite a demanding position and back-to-back meetings. While her job overseeing all outpatient and outlying clinics keeps her busy, she still works in a half-day of clinic every week or two, and dedicates a week a month to infectious disease consults or seeing inpatients in internal medicine wards.

"Staying clinically active helps me to stay current on the context and issues across the organization," she explained. "This first-hand experience helps to better inform an organizational response."

Leading From the Front

Whether in the military or private sector, "leading from the front" is important as it instills trust and confidence among staff, noted retired Army Col. (Dr.) Evan Renz, deputy to the commander for quality and safety and a general surgeon specializing in the treatment of burn patients.

"Being present is foundational to successful leadership and ensures the director's staff remain current and in-tune with frontline issues and challenges," Renz said. "It builds rapport and strengthens confidence."

Clinical time also sets a positive example for other healthcare leaders, added Army Col. Jody Brown, deputy commander for inpatient services and a family nurse practitioner.

"If I can get on scrubs and be at the bedside with our nurses, any other nurse can do the same," she said.

A recent study, titled "Physician leaders' perspectives about balancing clinical and leadership responsibilities," published in the June 2020 issue of the American Journal of Accountable Care, appears to validate the benefits of clinical care for physician leaders. Of the eligible 447 participants, 84% reported participating in direct patient care. The vast majority noted that doing so "somewhat or greatly improved" their performance as leaders.

According to the study's authors, "A common thread is that physicians' first-hand patient care experience lends them unique leadership perspective that can be highly valuable to themselves and their organizations." Benefits cited include greater credibility among the clinicians they lead, a unique perspective on balancing financial and operational concerns, and better insight into "frontline" issues.

Crucial Touchpoints

Army Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray, BAMC commanding general and an infectious disease physician, agrees that patient care provides an important perspective.

"Being hands-on allows you to fully understand the problem set and to speak from the position as a subject matter expert," he said. "It also enables people in patient care to have more direct engagement with senior leaders to build trust and improve communication."

Murray approaches many of his clinical shifts with a dual-hat perspective. After infectious disease consults, he often takes the opportunity to visit staff in various clinics and inpatient wards throughout the hospital.

"I am able to better understand issues and concerns this way and bring them to the leadership table so together we can affect change," he said.

These touchpoints proved crucial during BAMC's recent transition to MHS GENESIS, the military health system's new electronic health record. MHS GENESIS replaces numerous legacy systems and is being adopted as a common platform across the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

"My clinical time helped me to understand the challenges firsthand, and my leadership role ensured I'd be able to address them at a decision-making level," Murray said. "As a clinician, I'm in the same boat as everyone else, and this fosters camaraderie and empathy."

Hands-on care also leads to increased empathy for patients and their unique challenges, noted Army Col. Kimberlie Biever, deputy commanding officer and a nurse practitioner. Despite one of the busiest schedules in the hospital and an ever-present line of people at her door, Biever has never considered skipping an opportunity for patient care.

"Working in the clinic offers me an opportunity to keep my clinical skills sharp while ensuring I keep my finger on the pulse of patient concerns," said Biever, who often raises patient issues, such as lab or pharmacy wait times, at leadership huddles to initiate improvements.

From a military standpoint, keeping medical skills sharp is also vital to readiness, as clinical leaders can be called on to deploy downrange at any time, Renz noted.

Readiness and leadership engagement are key aspects of Ready Reliable Care, a Defense Department initiative that builds on best practices across the enterprise to ensure optimal outcomes for patients and staff.

"The fact that BAMC's leaders remain engaged clinically highlights our commitment to prioritizing the DHA's Ready Reliable Care model throughout the San Antonio Market," Renz said.

Balancing Act

While there are significant benefits, the study also emphasizes that balance is key to ensuring both clinical practice and leadership efficacy is maintained.

To help ensure leadership continuity, Yun relies on her colleagues to fill in for her at meetings and huddles when she's in clinic. This enables her the flexibility of time for patient care, while offering her colleagues an opportunity to hone their managerial skills and broaden their scope of experience.

"Everything we do, we do as a team -- whether it's patient care or leadership, and between all of us we can make it happen," she said.

Committed to Care

Another common theme for BAMC leaders is their passion for their profession.

Army Col. Sean Hipp, chief medical officer and a pediatric hematology-oncology physician, said he followed in his father's pediatrician footsteps to care for families. While he enjoys affecting change for families on a system level, he finds it just as important to personally impact families in the clinic.

"I spent my whole life wanting to become a physician; it is my passion and interest," he said. "Losing that part of my life would leave me less fulfilled."

Yun was also inspired to become a physician by her father, who was an internist in a rural Colorado town. "I saw the fulfilment he gained from taking care of his patients and the incredibly important role he played in the community, taking care of everyone regardless of their ability to pay. He remains my greatest inspiration in medicine."

Like her father, Yun said she benefits just as much from clinical time as her patients. "It's incredibly important for me to spend time seeing patients, some of whom I have decades' long relationships with, and teaching medical students, residents and fellows. Their energy and optimism inspires me and helps my own wellness."

Murray was inspired to pursue his specialty after hearing his parents' stories of growing up in the Congo in Africa, and the medical challenges there that underscored the importance of safe, quality healthcare across the world.

The physician-patient relationship is "special on many different levels," Murray said. "I also love the relationships I have with my colleagues to solve a clinical problem, and then as a team help the patient fully heal," he said.

Balancing leadership and patient care can be challenging, but is well worth the effort, Hipp said.

"It's not always easy to find time, but it's worth it to stay connected," he said. "It's easy to get lost in daily leadership meetings and emails. Clinical care keeps me grounded and centered on why I want to be physician leader."

No matter how packed the schedule, "patients are our priority," Biever said.

You also may be interested in...

MHS GENESIS ‘Goes Live’ at Naval Hospital Jacksonville and Branch Health Clinics Jacksonville, Key West, and Mayport

Article Around MHS
9/26/2022
Military personnel pose for picture at NBHC

Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville and Naval Branch Health Clinics (NBHC) Jacksonville, Key West, and Mayport have officially launched the Military Health System’s new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS

Eglin Hospital transitions to new health records system

Article Around MHS
9/23/2022
MHS GENESIS

The 96th Medical Group goes live with the Defense Health Agency's new health record system here Sept. 24.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Columbus AFB upgrades to MHS GENESIS

Article Around MHS
9/21/2022
MHS GENESIS

The 14th Flying Training Wing will join nine other military installations scheduled for the launch of the new Military Health System (MHS) GENESIS and electronic health record, beginning in September 2022.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS

MHS GENESIS is Coming to Keesler

Article Around MHS
9/14/2022
Information card displayed at Keesler Air Force Base

Keesler will transition to the Military Health System’s new electronic health record system, MHS GENESIS, on Sept. 24.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Technology and Medicine: The Digital Age of Health Care

Article
8/26/2022
Photo of an afternoon panel of four people

Technology is transforming health care and incorporating new elements for providers in their practices.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Health Care Technology | Defense Health Information Technology Symposium

Maxwell Clinic Transitioning to the MHS GENESIS System Sept. 24

Article Around MHS
7/26/2022
MHS Genesis infographic

The 42nd Medical Group will begin transitioning to MHS GENESIS Sept. 24 patients can expect to see an increase in wait times and a reduction in available appointments for approximately 120 days as healthcare teams adapt their office and clinic practices to new, standardized workflows.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

San Antonio Market Celebrates First Anniversary as a Unified Health Care System

Article Around MHS
7/20/2022
Two airmen talking.

The San Antonio Market will celebrate its one-year anniversary as a unified military health care system this week.

Recommended Content:

Direct Reporting Markets | Military Health System Transformation

MHS Virtual Education Center Empowers Patients to Improve Outcomes

Article
7/14/2022
Army Col. (Dr.) Maria Molina provides insight on the latest MHS digital resource for patients.

The Defense Health Agency is developing the Virtual Education Center: A web-based library and communications platform that enables providers and patients to access, store, and use vetted MHS education resources more easily than ever before.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Ready Reliable Care | Health Care Technology | MHS GENESIS

MHS GENESIS Live at WBAMC

Article Around MHS
7/7/2022
Military personnel at ribbon cutting ceremony

The Military Health System's new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, was introduced on June 11 at William Beaumont Army Medical Center and El Paso Market.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

How MHS GENESIS will become essential to patients' health journey

Article
6/21/2022
Dr. Robert Marshall, program director of the Department of Defense Clinical Informatics Fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Ensuring proper training of both providers and patients is essential for the successful integration and sustainment of MHS GENESIS into MHS care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Care Technology | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Patients at Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany can take steps now to prepare for MHS GENESIS ‘Go Live’

Article Around MHS
5/17/2022
MHS GENESIS log on

Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) Albany will transition to the Military Health System’s new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, on June 11

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Winn ACH prepares to transition to MHS GENESIS

Article Around MHS
5/4/2022
Military Health Personnel in Army hospital

U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Fort Stewart – Hunter Army Airfield healthcare continues to prepare to transition healthcare records to the new Department of Defense system - Military Health System GENESIS.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

New MHS GENESIS Capabilities Deployed at BAMC and LACKLAND

Article
5/3/2022
Trauma personnel receive an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO patient into the Emergency Department at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Jan. 24, 2022. MHS GENESIS new functionalities support BAMC’s Level I Trauma Center. (Photo: Corey Toye, Brooke Army Medical Center)

Wave BAMC and Wave LACKLAND simultaneously deployed the new single common federal electronic health record (EHR), which the DOD calls MHS GENESIS. With these Waves, the DOD activated over 11,000 new MHS GENESIS users.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Program Executive Office, Defense Healthcare Management Systems | In the Spotlight

MHS GENESIS: Commanders Say Electronic Health Records Foster Improved Care

Article
4/20/2022
An Army soldier and patient actor sports a mock impalement while providing simulated medical information to test out a new electronic medical record system designed to virtually document medical encounters in the field. The mock scenario was part of the U.S. Navy’s Rim of the Pacific exercise in 2018. (Photo: Ana Allen, U.S. Army)

MHS GENESIS improves health care for military beneficiaries across the enterprise.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS

MHS GENESIS Now Deployed at 66 of 138 Military Hospital and Clinic Commands

Article
4/8/2022
Air Force Col. Dolphis Hall, 4th Medical Group commander, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Kaleah Belin, 4th MDG senior enlisted leader, pose for a photo at the Thomas Koritz Medical Clinic at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, March 19, 2022. (Photo: Air Force Senior Airman Kimberly Barrera)

MHS GENESIS is now live at Waves Bragg and Wave Hood.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Military Health System Transformation | Secure Patent Portals | MHS GENESIS
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 15
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 27, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.