Learning to Slow Down in Order to Go Fast

April 3, 2017   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: Training
Megan O'Brien

Originally published for The Center for Care Innovations. Read the complete blog post and join the discussion at The Center for Care Innovations >>>

In February 2017, I attended a “Practice Coaching for Primary Care Transformation” training in Portland, Oregon, developed and co-led by CareOregon and UCSF’s Center for Excellence in Primary Care. I spent four days learning about the 10 Building Blocks of Primary Care, taking a deep dive into the foundational blocks of empanelment, team-based care, engaged leadership, and data. I came away with one overarching message from the week: in order to succeed with transforming our healthcare system, we need to slow down in order to go fast.

What does this message mean for the healthcare landscape? In the context of the training, it meant in order to succeed with deep, transformative changes to the way we deliver primary care, instead of just plowing ahead in the same way we always have, we need to slow down and investigate the way we operate, experiment, and make changes. And to recognize that the trade off for future transformation might be slowing down the work we are doing in the present moment.

But how do we slow down? How do we carve out time in our own busy clinics and nonprofits to make the changes necessary now in order to succeed in the long-term? The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing with the 2016 election and the House Republicans’ recent release of their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. While it may feel like it’s exactly the time to speed up in order to combat what’s happening, I think it’s time to do the opposite: slow down, take any inventory of what we are spending our time on, and get rid of the things that weigh us down. We need to create the space and time to both respond to external threats like the ACA repeal and also proactively continue to build the healthcare system we know will best serve patients and keep providers happy.

How are ways that you slow down in your life, both personally and professionally? If you had a full day (ok, how about just two hours a week?) where you could have protected space in your schedule, how would you spend that time? What would you focus on? Join the discussion >>>

Megan O’Brien - As program manager at The Center for Care Innovations (CCI), Megan builds capability around care delivery transformation and manages a range of programs within CCI’s Value-Based Care portfolio of work. Megan comes to CCI with over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit and community health sectors, and with longstanding commitment to California’s health care safety net as a trainer, facilitator, consultant, and direct service provider. Most recently, she worked at Health Outreach Partners, a national organization located in Oakland, where she led projects aimed at strengthening access to health care services, and provided training and technical assistance to FQHCs across the country. Previously, Megan worked at the Shanti Project, a San Francisco based nonprofit that provides care and support to clients living with life-threatening illnesses. Before relocating to Bay Area, Megan lived in Washington, D.C and worked as a grant writer at a national peace organization, conducted research on the effects of peacebuilding schools along the Thai-Burma border, and interned at an AIDS Hospice in Southern Africa.

Megan earned her BA in International Relations and MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, D.C. Since 2008, she has volunteered at the Berkeley Free Clinic, providing mental health services and as well as a Certified Enrollment Counselor. Megan enjoys camping, hiking, practicing bikram yoga, and winning stuffed animals out of claw machines.