What does it mean to be a Davidson Impact Fellow?

“So what exactly do you do?” When I first started here at OrthoCarolina (OC) I struggled to answer this question when my friends or even coworkers would ask. As a collective, the Davidson Impact Fellows share similar values and sometimes even the same goals, but individually, our job descriptions differ greatly. I found that each time I was being introduced to someone new, my title would change slightly or my responsibilities would broaden to encompass the work of many different departments within the hospital system. Clearly, I was not the only one who was unsure about my role. OrthoCarolina is a large, orthopedic practice and for ease of understanding, with most job titles, it is generally easy to infer what that certain job entails. But not for an Impact Fellow, and while at first this was an uncomfortable feeling, it is something that I have grown to absolutely love.

What does it mean to be a Davidson Impact Fellow?

Beginning my fellowship, I was fortunate enough to have the former fellow, Megan Garzon ’14, by my side to guide me through the introductions, to help integrate me into the workflow, and to ultimately, teach me what it means to be an Impact Fellow at OrthoCarolina. She has helped me to realize that the learning experience laid out before me is truly one in which I have the opportunity to develop geared towards my individual interests and one that will evolve over the course of my fellowship year. She has also helped me to realize the ways in which I can explore the areas in healthcare that are important to me and my journey to becoming a physician (thanks Megan!).

For those of you still reading and interested in health care, the rest of this article (I hope) is going to be very insightful. I am going to talk about patient needs, community values within the healthcare system, and a few other efforts towards sustainable healthcare solutions that I have stumbled across while working at OrthoCarolina. I’m going to describe to you what my ever-changing job description actually looks like at the moment. (And to those readers I lost at the first mention of ‘health care’, I bid you farewell and hope that you will take the time to read about the amazing experiences of the other Davidson Impact Fellows!).

So right now I am working on a number of innovative patient care initiatives with the Value Based Services team here at OC. I want to stress the importance of value-based as it is a huge part of my role and because it is a relatively new concept in healthcare that honestly, for the first several months of working here, I did not fully understand. The basic idea behind value-based services is to focus on patient values and aspirations rather than just expressed needs in order to better plan, monitor, and evaluate specific program initiatives.

The problem with focusing on needs rather than values is that in most cases solutions to these problems are neither sustainable nor empowering enough to create ever-lasting change. Essentially, you want to make sure you are asking the right questions (whether it is to your patients or fellow health care administrators, etc.) in order to provide answers that lead to practical actions and improvement. I help determine how to improve the health care process and patient experience, whether it is asking the right questions, creating new and innovative solutions to improve physician and patient reported outcomes as well as overall satisfaction scores, or simply helping to elevate the preexisting community.

Over the course of this year, I look forward to further involving myself in the community that is OrthoCarolina and also, updating you on the progress of the array of value-based projects that are quickly taking over my post-Davidson life. By the end of this year I hope to not only be able to give you a better picture of my role as a fellow is, but personally, to confidently answer the big, open-ended question, “Why do you want to be a Doctor?” A question that I am excited to see how OrthoCarolina and my mentors, including those supplied to me through the Davidson Impact Fellowship program, help me to answer. Until next time!What does it mean to be a Davidson Impact Fellow?