Liz Poret-Christ (1s):
You spend two seconds in the room and you leave. And then the patient has all these questions and then you have to answer 15 phone calls. Had you just sat there for two more minutes you might’ve answered all of those questions. So if I were to present the perfect situation, I would say, you know, you are going to save money by training your physicians right, right off the bat. And you’re going to save time by implementing this as a top down philosophy so that everyone’s wired the same way. You don’t have a couple of key people that do it, and no one else follows. It kind of has to be everyone’s trained the same way so that everyone speaks the same language. So everyone’s empowered to say, Hey, Dr.
Liz Poret-Christ (43s):
Orsini, I saw you are standing in the doorway of that room. Why don’t you sit down? Why don’t you go in and sit down, so that everyone understands what it takes to be successful.
Welcome to Difficult Conversations: Lessons I learned as an ICU physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Dr. Orsini is a practicing physician and president and CEO of The Orsini Way. As a frequent keynote speaker and author, Dr. Orsini has been training healthcare professionals and business leaders how to navigate through the most difficult dialogues. Each week, you will hear inspiring interviews with experts in their field who tell their story and provide practical advice on how to effectively communicate. Whether you are a doctor faced with giving a patient bad news, a business leader who wants to get the most out of his or her team members or someone who just wants to learn to communicate better this is the podcast for you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (1m 40s):
I am honored today that The Orsini Way has partnered with The Finley Project to bring you this episode of Difficult Conversations: Lessons I learned as an ICU physician, The Finley Project is a nonprofit organization committed to providing care for mothers who have experienced the unimaginable, the loss of an infant. It was created by their founder, Noelle Moore, whose sweet daughter Finley died in 2013. It was at that time that Noelle realized that there was a large gap between leaving the hospital without your baby. And the time when you get home, that letter to start The Finley Project. The Finley Project is the nation’s only seven part holistic program that helps mothers after infant loss, by supporting them physically and emotionally, they provide such things as mental health counseling, funeral arrangements, support, grocery gift cards, professional house cleaning, professional massage therapy, and support group placement.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 34s):
The Finley Project has helped hundreds of women across the country. And I can tell you that I have seen personally how The Finley Project has literally saved the lives of mothers who lost their infant. If you’re interested in learning more or referring a family or donating to this amazing cause please go to The Finley Project.org. The Finley Project believes that no family should walk out of a hospital without support. Well, welcome to another episode Of difficult conversations lessons I learned as an ICU physician. My name is Dr. Anthony Orsini, and I will not be your host today. Today. I thought we would do something different. Today my good friend and colleague Peter Winick will be our host.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 14s):
Peter is the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage and host of his own podcast called leveraging thought leadership, which I believe has over 300 episodes now. For the past two decades, Peter has helped individuals and organizations build and grow revenue streams to designing and growing their thought leadership platform, as well as acting as a guide and advisor for increasing business to business sales of thought leadership products. Through The Orsini Way I’ve been working with Peter for almost six months now. And he has certainly helped us move in the right direction and expand. Today, Peter will be interviewing me and Elizabeth Poret-Christ. Liz is The Orsini Way’s managing director, my friend and colleague for almost 10 years now. She makes The Orsini Way run and is a master communicator, an expert in patient experience.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 58s):
As you may recall, I interviewed Liz on episode eight back in September of 2020. And if you haven’t heard that I highly recommend recommended her story is definitely worth hearing. Well, enough said, I’m going to hand the reins over to Peter. There are no preset questions here, and Peter’s going to have the ability to ask us anything he wants. So let’s see what happens, Peter.
Peter Winick (4m 20s):
Thank you. Thanks for that. I’m excited about today because when we started working together several months ago, I was enamored slash fascinated by not just the work that you do, but the story behind the story. So I think most people know your story. Tony, just give us a little bit of background, cause you’re usually on this side of the mic and I want to dig a little bit deeper on what got you going here, what problems you’re trying to solve and the bumps along the way.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (4m 45s):
Yeah. So as most people know, who’ve heard this podcast before or read my book or listened to my Ted talk. You know, I had a profound experience when I was training as a neonatal fellow that made me really realize how important it is for doctors, not only to have the art and science of medicine down pat, but also learn how to communicate and build relationships. And I saw from a very early age that although we were scientifically doing extremely well and medicine was getting better and better, our communication skills over time just got worse. And because many people, not in medicine wouldn’t realize that we’re actually not trained on that. So after that profound experience of witnessing a doctor who was a very compassionate doctor who gave tragic news to a parent in a very abrupt way, I really dedicated 10 years of my life to learning.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (5m 37s):
If there is a proper way of communicating with patients both during difficult times and during good times the answer was yes, and it took me 10 years to figure out and come up with a program that teach doctors how to communicate. And then in 2010, I started a program called breaking bad news, which was the first of its kind that trained young doctors on how to discuss tragic news. After presenting that at a conference, it kind of blew up and that we became very popular. There were programs all over the country that were asking us to, to train their doctors. And then I think it was a year later that I met Liz who wanted to get involved in the program. Liz has her own story that I’ll let her tell.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (6m 19s):
And then really the rest is history. We’ve been teaching doctors, nurses, first responders, and now even some business people on how to communicate in addition to being a neonatologist and a physician. My passion really is communication. I think it’s fascinating. It’s cool. If you will, to know that you can change a word or change a nonverbal cue and make all the difference. And that’s why the name of my book is called it’s on the delivery because it truly is. And so now I just spend all my free time teaching and doing the podcast, writing the book, and Liz has been a central part of that from the very beginning and together we have a mission and that is to improve communication in medicine and in business.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (7m 0s):
So, so that’s where I am now and you and your company is helping us reach our goals of expanding that. And so I’m just so excited about what I do.
Peter Winick (7m 8s):
And it comes through all the time. So one of the things I found fascinating when we started working together is really two things is number one, it’s not a judgment or a character flaw that doctors are horrible at this. It’s a logical outcome. So if someone asked me to do what you do as a doc, I would fail miserably because I have no training or experience you wouldn’t, God forbid, hand me a scalpel to deal with it. Yet doctors go out there and they’re good people, good intentions, trying to do good things and cause horrible, long-term psychological damage. One of the things that was fascinating to me when we started working, I had a story about my dad who had a heart attack in his 40’s. Bill, my right hand was a very sick child and his mother who’s like 80 still cringes And could quote back when a doctor told her in the early seventies, your son’s condition is incompatible with life.
Peter Winick (7m 57s):
Like, oh, that’s compassionate. And I think we’re not special. I think everybody has that story. They doctor giving us news in a way that’s just awful horrible or whatever. That’s a big and noble problem to try to fix. And that’s why I love the work that you’re doing. I want to go to the other side because you’re coming at it from the professional realizing, Hey, I’m going to call what I see, which is my profession does a really terrible job at this. And it causes undo pain, stress suffering. And I want to dedicate my life to fixing it. Liz is amazing. And Liz and I have spent a ton of time together over the last several months because unfortunately she’s been on the plays, the role of the receiver, if you will, because she’s been on the patient side of this more than any of us would like to share some of your stories.
Liz Poret-Christ (8m 40s):
Sure. So I had a very successful career in the fashion industry, which has absolutely nothing to do with this. And when I gave birth to my twins, my daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. At that time, I was a stay at home mom. And the idea of having a child with a chronic medical condition really overwhelmed me with feelings of being helpless and the way that I decided to channel that intensity of feeling like I had no control over what was going on in the world was to become active in our local children’s hospital. And I joined something called the family advisory council, which kind of served as the doctor to patient patient, to doctor translation.
Liz Poret-Christ (9m 22s):
So we met with doctors, we met with different ancillary departments in the hospital and just try to explain to them what it felt like to be communicated with from the patient or family member perspective. And I really loved that work. I thought it really just empowered me in a way that I don’t know anything else that could have done that. And then I was at a conference in Washington, DC where CHOP was talking about role-play to teach doctors and nurses what it was like from the patient perspective, except the doctors played the nurses and the nurses played the doctors. And I sat in the audience just completely overwhelmed with how amazing this role-play scenario was.
Liz Poret-Christ (10m 2s):
But I kept thinking that why could it, the patients or the family members participate in that to give them a more realistic view? So I ran back to our director of pediatrics full of all my big ideas. And he was like, okay, calm down. There’s a doctor, that’s starting a program. That sounds like what you’re talking about. So why don’t you go talk to him? So I called Dr. Orsini and I said, please, let me help. Please let me be part of this. And he was like, okay, but we use actors and I was like, actors, why do you need actors? You have all these family advisors and all these parents waiting to help. And he said, no, trust me. It works this way. And I was very, what’s the word I’m looking for? I was suspect. I said, no, I think we could do just as good a job.
Liz Poret-Christ (10m 44s):
He said, well, why don’t you come watch? So I went to watch and I was so overwhelmed by the realism and the improvisational aspect of giving these doctors such a safe environment to learn how to do something that’s so incredibly difficult to do that. I absolutely fell right on my sword and said, you’re right. You’re right. And how can I help? And what I thought was so unique was in the review session with these physicians that were going through the role-play was a family advisor, giving that feedback, giving that this is what it feels like. This is what I hear as a patient or family member. And that was so unique to any other kind of training that I’d ever experienced that I instantly was hooked and said, whenever you need me, I’ll come.
Liz Poret-Christ (11m 27s):
How can I help? And I did that. Tony, what do you think? Like four years, three, four years. And as the company got bigger and we had more clients, we really needed somebody on the ground when Dr. Orsini was going and being a doctor to really handle the clients and the handle, you know, what was going on with the company. And Tony said, Hey, you want to leave your successful fashion industry career and come work for me, it’s a nonprofit. I was like, yeah, sure, great. I’ll do that. So I left and actually I went, part-time at both jobs and I never looked back. I absolutely loved what we do. And I feel like, I always say, I have a changed the world job and I have a change your clothes job.
Liz Poret-Christ (12m 8s):
And the change the world job is just really so rewarding.
Peter Winick (12m 12s):
It totally comes through in everything you both do when working with clients. So I think, you know, on Tony’s side of the house, it’s showing docs that you’re doing something that is causing harm. And then there hasn’t been one that you’ve exposed it to that says, no, I think I’m going to continue to do it the way I was doing. Like, I kind of liked inflicting, suffering on people. So that’s amazing. And then Liz take being on the receiving end, it’s a magic combination. So I want to talk about to the business side of this. So everybody on both sides of the equations realizes this is an issue, or once they come to be told the story of it goes, yeah, oh, geez, we got to do better at this. Talk a little bit about the journey because there was a nonprofit piece to this and then a typical business to this and then a corporate business to this.
Peter Winick (12m 57s):
And it, you know, in my work, I’m dealing with people that are typically really smart and savvy on the business side, developing capabilities in others so that they can do their jobs and perform better. And as long as there were an ROI, you know, business is fairly simple, like making investment, get a return on it. It’s not quite that simple in the health and medical universe talk about sort of the journey and some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (13m 21s):
We started out, you know, my initial idea as Liz alluded to, we started out as a non-profit. It was called the BBN foundation. And I had this grandiose ideas that everybody was going to recognize how important this was and just donate money. And, you know, everything was all idealistic. And we did that for three or four years. We had a board. I’ll never forget quick story. A friend of mine who was on the board, was also a big time lawyer. He’s a music lawyer, but he had some friends and he brought me to Now we’re getting ready to start the non-for-profits. So he brings me to this big place on fifth avenue in New York. And he, we sit down and my friend and I are sitting there waiting for the lawyer to come into this big boardroom.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (14m 3s):
She walks in and she says, before we start, I want you to know that the government is assuming that you’re doing this to launder money. Anything that you do incorrectly can put you in jail.
Peter Winick (14m 21s):
Not you personally, let me just clarify
Dr. Anthony Orsini (14m 23s):
that non-profits are considered you, you have to prove that you’re legit. So my friend and I looked at each other and said that we want to keep doing this. We said, okay, let’s go. So we did it. It was a foundation for about three or maybe four years. It started out with a bang and then like many things, the board of directors got busy. It was a lot of work. We were putting on big galas and we realized that the gala was great people donating money. And then by the time you pay the caterer, by the time you pay the DJ, there’s nothing left. And Lauren, my wife and I looked at each other and we said 75% of the money has been donated by us. And every time I need to do something, I need to clear the board and I’m losing sleep because I might lose a receipt for $3 and 29 cents for a hamburger at lunch and go to jail.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (15m 8s):
And so we made the decision to make it an LLC, mostly just to make things easier. And now we can move more quickly as an LLC. And then we started to expand. It was, you know, first just teaching, breaking bad news. But then we realized it was the same communication skills that made certain doctors perform better on patient experience scores. And you know, and I want to say that the problem with communication in medicine is really, as you said earlier, these doctors and nurses are just genuinely great people who went into medicine for the right reasons, but like anything else, if I asked you to do something that you really never been trained to do, you’re going to feel that you’re going to be nervous. You’re going to have anxiety and you’re going to rush through it and just botch it up.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (15m 51s):
So, so that’s how we’ve evolved from a nonprofit to an LLC. And we rebranded from BBN to The Orsini Way after a couple of consultants said, BBN just doesn’t make any sense. You know, it was for branding purposes and here we are now, and now we’re doing, and then we expand it into business, which we’ll get into later on because COVID kind of changed everything.
Peter Winick (16m 12s):
Yeah, exactly. Again, so most of my work is in the business world, right in the business world. If you can make your case that investing, it actually leads to Y and Y is a good thing. Great. And occasionally things that you just do things because they’re the right things. What I’ve learned from my work with you guys is, yeah, nobody disagrees that this is a good idea.
Liz Poret-Christ (16m 31s):
Now you have to get it funded. Now you have to get probably the scarcest resource other than money is time of really high value people like docs. Like we all know how many hours collectively we spend over our lifetimes in waiting room to get eight minutes with the doc to argue that I need them for a half day, a whole day, two days, that is a monumental ask. So the follow the money here at some level is patient experience scores, which directly impact reimbursements that medical centers and such receive from the government, which is kind of an equal that of customer experience in the business world, but in a perfect world. And I know you’re doing a lot of this with residents is where should I be introduced to this capability, this concept, this mastery of a better way to communicate terrible news.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (17m 16s):
I think Liz would agree with me. What we found is, you know, when you’re a medical student and this is well chronicled in books, when you’re a medical student, you’re very altruistic and you’re just there to save lives. You know, I started medical school thinking I was going to cure cancer and then the demands of, but you don’t realize that there are people that die and you don’t realize that you’re going to have to tell people that they’re going to die. And you don’t realize that you’re going to have to see 30 patients and six hour period. And so it’s well chronicled that you, the reality of healthcare kind of comes to you. So Liz and I have really found probably the best time to start this process. We’ll introduce a medical school, but we really want to start the process in as a resident and as a young physician, because as a resident, you’re not really worried about billing.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (18m 4s):
You’re not worried about your practice. So you just kind of have patients. And then you get out into the real world. And many of these physicians or big hospital programs are realizing these guys are brilliant doctors and brilliant nurses, but our patient experience scores are low. Why is it that we have great outcomes where our scores are low? And so the earlier the better, I think is the best way to train them what we want to do at the Orsini way, which I think is so cool is we don’t teach them what to say. We kind of rewire the way you think about communication. So you don’t have to be a doctor to take our program. We can teach anyone how to communicate and you’re going to go, wow, that’s really cool. I liked that. I didn’t know, raising my palm 90 degrees made a big difference on what I say and you know, there’s, so it’s kind of cool that when you train people, how to do this, they’re rewired for life.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (18m 49s):
And that’s the other thing that we do. And Liz, we’ll talk a little bit about more about this. Once we train you, you don’t need more training. So many of these programs want you to come back every year, et cetera. So it’s rewiring your brain, right?
Peter Winick (19m 0s):
So let’s talk to that rewiring. And then I want to get to Liz for a minute. So in terms of the rewiring, what’s interesting is this isn’t sort of a hack or here’s the five hacks to do. Everybody wants to hack and you know, how do you get your email box clear and all that? And I know from our work together, like I’ve learned a couple of little things like when doctors are standing, literally looking down at sitting parents, delivering news as a totally different experience and taking whatever it takes three seconds to grab a chair and look me in the eye at face level. Like I think once people learn that, like you said, there’s no refresher course. That’s just, that’s what you do. They would never go back to the old habit and revert to doing it the other way, because they didn’t realize the outcome of that.
Peter Winick (19m 42s):
Liz talk a little bit about some of the good, the bad and the ugly of getting installed inside of organization. Because I look at the work you’re doing, is it, wow, this is amazing stuff. We wish it was easier to get people, to get it and bring y’all in, in the door and say, of course we need to do this.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (19m 59s):
So I was going to say back to the other point, we have a client that really has embraced this program for their residents. And they actually do it twice in the three-year residency. They do it as a first year when you know, the skills are really growing and the access to patients is increasing.
Liz Poret-Christ (20m 19s):
So they do it in the first year and then they bring them back again in the third year and give them a more complicated scenario, usually involving a medical error. So not only is it meeting a requirement of their training to learn how to disclose medical errors, but they’re getting that in that super safe environment to learn how to do this incredibly difficult task. And I think there’s such a great example of the success of investing in both the time and the finances of doing this kind of training because those doctors are walking out and going into their fellowship so far ahead of their competition. And I would have to imagine, and I love at some point to do a study on this.
Liz Poret-Christ (21m 4s):
I love to hear like in the interview process for their fellowship, is this something that they talked about? Is this something that made a difference? Because we see them year one, and then we watched them again, year three. And sometimes when they do a really extraordinary job, we go back and pull that year, one video and show the progress. And it’s amazing. Like it amazes me every time and it’s like a clean slate. Every time you get to a new doc to Tony’s point about rewiring their brain, we’re not telling them what to say. We’re teaching them or giving them a roadmap on how to make this easier for themselves and more successful for their patient. And I think that in a perfect world, I would love to see everybody do it that way, because I think it’s really impactful.
Liz Poret-Christ (21m 52s):
And this client in particular also has a very robust team of doctors that sit in on that review panel. So they’re speaking the language as well. And we all know that when you’re trying to implement a philosophy it’s top down. So they’re top believes in it and it filters all the way down. And I think they would be my perfect world in a perfect world. Everyone would do it just that way.
Peter Winick (22m 13s):
So I want to ask a similar question to what I asked Tony. So I asked Tony earlier where in the process he’d prefer. And we, we talked about getting it early in your most often interfacing on the other side, on the administration side and the contracting side and the dollar side and all that sort of stuff. You know, if I said to you, here’s your magic wand? What would you like folks that are on the buy-side, the healthcare administrators or whatever, to be thinking differently, doing differently, realizing making this a bigger priority to make, to get access to more folks.
Liz Poret-Christ (22m 46s):
So I would say that if it’s a teaching hospital, I’d like to see them do that kind of first year, third year situation. And then I really do think it’s important that once a new physician is integrated into a hospital system, end of year one, year two, we go through this again, because listen, we can help remediate behaviors that maybe don’t end in great outcomes, whether it be lawsuits or some kind of litigation or whatever. But if that roadmap is hardwired and this is the way you do it, you walk in the room and you sit down, you look your patient in the eye. You don’t have one foot out the door, all these things that seems so simple, but nobody has the time to do.
Liz Poret-Christ (23m 27s):
We show you that you actually save time by doing it right the first time, instead of trying to backtrack, like when you spend two seconds in the room and you leave, and then the patient has all these questions, and then you have to answer 15 phone calls. Had you just sat there for two more minutes. You might’ve answered all of those questions. So if I were to present the perfect situation, I would say, you know, you are going to save money by training your physicians right off the bat. And you’re going to save time by implementing this as a top down philosophy. So that everyone’s wired the same way. You don’t have a couple of key people that do it, and no one else follows. It kind of has to be everyone’s trained the same way so that everyone speaks the same language.
Liz Poret-Christ (24m 11s):
So everyone’s empowered to say, Hey, Dr. Orsini, I saw you were standing in the doorway of that room. Why don’t you sit down? Or why don’t you go in and sit down so that everyone understands what it takes to be successful?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (24m 24s):
I think that’s a good point. You know, Peter, we do really ideally, although we train one doctor at a time with improvisational, we have big workshops and prefer to do whole hospitals. I think one of the problems with, as you alluded to what the ROI is, and this is why my life is so frustrating sometimes because did you ever feel like you have a really simple solution to a very complicated problem and nobody else is listening. So that’s the way we feel. So patient experience is a really hot topic and patient experience. Multiple studies have shown that it’s all about relationships and communication. And if you can train the doctors and nurses, how to form relationships with their patients and communicate well, your patient experience scores are going to go up and you’re going to make more money.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (25m 6s):
It’s so simple yet because it’s a soft skill. We still have many hospitals who say, well, that sounds great. But I still think if we had nice TVs, they might give us a better score or let’s improve the food because those are tangible things that we can touch. The other thing that Liz was talking about is about following these young doctors later on. I don’t, I didn’t even tell Liz this, but just last week I got a Facebook messenger, long message from one of the doctors that I trained really early. I think it was even the first year. And she sent me this long texts that she, I loved my Ted talk, but really hit home. And she said, I just want to let you know that 10 years now I’m in practice in Nashville. And I still stop every time I have a difficult conversation and think about what you’ve taught me and I want to thank you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (25m 50s):
And if you’re ever in Nashville, please stop by. And I, you know, when you get, that’s what I’m talking about, that’s evidence that we’ve rewired people.
Peter Winick (25m 58s):
Well, and you guys have taught thousands of doctors over the last 10 years. And then you think of the tens or hundreds of thousands of patients. We’ve had conversations, Tony offline about the frustration. And just so everybody listening, you know, Tony has put his blood, sweat, tears, investment, everything into this as has Liz. This type of works that pays a fraction of what the fashion world does. And you guys both have your hearts and brilliant minds in an amazing place to continue to do this. And I just hope that that frustration that you have eventually little by little, the world goes, geez. Yeah, there is a better way. And I want to touch on another piece of this story, because I think this connects to Liz was talking about from the patient standpoint, from the administrative standpoint, I would imagine, although I don’t know firsthand, if I’m a doc and I have to deliver bad news, that’s not something I, you know, obviously it’s not a thing.
Peter Winick (26m 45s):
It’s not a good thing. It’s not something I enjoy. I’m going to have anxiety over it. And I know that every time I do it, it’s awful. That’s going to make me feel pretty crappy and awful. And you can’t, you know, alleviate the pain and suffering that someone has to go through. But how much better does a doctor feel knowing that they’re doing what they have to do in a way that is, you know, with the most dignity and respect and compassion, empathy, love, whatever that they can to a patient. How does that change their brain?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (27m 13s):
That’s basically what I was alluding to before. And I want to say it, you know, we don’t just teach bad news. We also teach general communication skills. When I said before, I feel like I have a simple solution to a complicated problem in right now, if you look at the problems in healthcare, it’s number one, rising costs and number two, physician and nursing burnout. So physician burnout now is up to 60%. It’s the highest suicide rate of any profession. Nurses are about the same. Substance abuse among nurses and doctors is rising every year. And a lot of that has to do with the growing demands that are being placed on physicians, as far as time and the less money and the administrators telling you need to do this, and you need to do that.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (27m 54s):
And there’s great books about this. You can read about it. In fact, I soon will be interviewing Dr. Robert Pearl, who just wrote a book called Uncaring, and he talks about this, but what I say to positions during my workshop, and I think this is why they really listen so intently is that you weren’t doing this training, not only for the patient, because the patient’s going to benefit from your better communication skills, but you’re also doing it for yourself because whether it’s a bad news, then now you’re delivering bad news, but you’re confident that you’re doing it correctly. Or it’s a routine office visit. When you walk into that treatment room, there’s nobody telling you what you have to do.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 39s):
There’s no administrator over your shoulder. There’s nobody telling you what the document and that is your time to build rapport and form that relationship with the patient. And it only takes a few minutes, but when you do that, you’re going to leave that room feeling fulfilled. And you’re going to say, wow, this is why I went back in the medicine. This is why I went into medicine in the first place. And you leave the day. So fulfilled that to me this is the solution. Not only for a patient experience, not only did the, to decrease futile malpractice lawsuits, not only to help doctors with their anxiety, but to improve professional burnout. If we can learn to get back to that, you and I are in this treatment room right now, and we are going to be best friends for the next 10 minutes.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (29m 25s):
And we’re going to build a rapport and you’re going to feel really comfortable, opening up to me to tell me your issues because you trust me. And I’m going to treat you with respect because I’m comfortable doing the communication. And I’m locking out all that other for lack of a better word, crap with documentations and worried about malpractice lawsuits. And I’m going to give you 10 minutes of my undivided time. You’re going to leave really fulfilled. I’m going to leave really happy. It’s not going to take any longer. Patients in the waiting room won’t wait that long. Everybody goes home. There’s less medical errors. It’s a simple thing. And so that’s why 10 years of my hard earned time and money has been screaming from a mountaintop going guys, you know, and that’s the whole premise of the TED talk.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (30m 10s):
I keep plugging the Ted talk, but I’m going to plug the TED talk.
Peter Winick (30m 13s):
Go listen, it’s on YouTube now, but have them go listen to the Ted talk, but also depending on who’s listening now, this is your opportunity for an ask because I’ve been in the background trying to do my best to support you all for the last six months, because this needs to be unleashed. There’s no doubt in my mind, like we will all be in a better world if X percent or 10 times as many communication skills. So what’s an ask you might have, and I’ll ask it to each of you. So what’s an ask you may have?
Liz Poret-Christ (30m 49s):
I guess my ask would be to administrators, whether it be business or medicine, if you have a team of people that need to not only communicate with each other, but with clients or patients, you need to teach them how you need to teach them what compassion and empathy and, you know, being a productive human in a difficult rushed, complicated world, there’s a tool. There’s a gift you can give them. And I always say, when I onboard a resident, this training is a gift that your hospital is giving you to teach you how to do this in a way that will affect the rest of your professional career.
Liz Poret-Christ (31m 33s):
And sometimes as Tony’s alluded to, I feel like we have the secret. Like I feel like I hold a secret in my hand for a physician that gets in their car at the end of the day and they’re hindbrain or you know, is telling them like, Ugh, I didn’t do this well. And there’s a way that they could be taught to do a better, why wouldn’t that be something that everyone wanted to give their team? And I’ve certainly worked in professional environments where some management or some team members didn’t communicate well and didn’t, and it affected the whole team. And if there was a better way to do it, why didn’t anyone want to give it to them? So that would be my ask. Like, if you have a team, you need to teach them, you need to give them the skills.
Liz Poret-Christ (32m 14s):
Don’t just assume that they have it just because you can hire the brightest person in the room. Doesn’t mean they have the skills to communicate with anybody around them.
Peter Winick (32m 24s):
And Tony, who would you ask?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (32m 27s):
I agree with Liz, like the, the administrators of a hospital or big practice or a business really need to understand that the save your money and the food and the TVs and let’s invest in this. But I would also say, you know, it reminds me of, if you’re watching a cable network, it says, if you don’t get this channel, call your cable company and demand that you hear that all the time. I think from the physician’s point of view and the nurse’s point of view, if you’re not getting this kind of training and you care about yourself and your patients go ahead and demand it. and The Orsini Way now has so many different educational formats that we now offer CME’s for that if you don’t have the time to do it improvisational role-playing, or if your hospital is not supporting you, there’s other ways we give workshops, I speak at so many different conferences.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (33m 19s):
We now have remote learning modules for CME credits.
Peter Winick (33m 21s):
I just want to unpack that is brand new. I mean, that’s literally just launching as we speak, which makes a huge difference because I think one of the issues here has been, yeah, I get it. I get it. I get it. But I need CME’s that I’m not going to get credit for these. So check the box another excuse, hopefully neutralize.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (33m 37s):
And here’s the thing I would say to physicians and nurses is that I know you’re really busy, but the biggest satisfaction that Liz and I have when we’re doing workshops is we see that many of these times that the administrators are making the doctors go, they’re making the nurse ever wants to do it. And you see them up there. And given, you know, sometimes up to three hour workshop and there’s always a bunch of people with their arms folded and their body language is saying, you gotta be there at two o’clock on Tuesday. They really happy about it. Many of it is, are the doctors because the nurses are getting paid for that. Usually the nurses get paid to sit there. So they’re like, okay, this is fine. And then I start off with telling everyone that, you know, I’m a physician, I’m one of you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (34m 20s):
And many of these other companies that are doing similar programs, aren’t run by physicians. I use these communication techniques that I still go home at a decent time. And my patient satisfaction scores are sky high for umpteen years or whatever it is. So then they set up a little more straight and then we start showing them the cool techniques and why communication. And all of a sudden they’re like, I can’t wait to try this. So whether you’re doing this in a workshop or you’re doing a learning module for an hour, I promise you that you will come away with something that will make you excited to try it out the next day or the light bulb will go on go. I never thought of that. You know? So things like that. So I think the ask is there’s many different levels on a large level.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (35m 3s):
Yes, we need healthcare to embrace this on a big level. But if you don’t get this news channel demanded from your cable company, I think I would say, well, I want to thank you for that.
Peter Winick (35m 14s):
Thank you both for that. So I want to pivot a little bit over to the corporate side because that’s fairly new. And you know, if you look broadly at the communication space, which is where this sits in corporate, there’s a lot of stuff out there and like anything else, there’s a continuum of total crap to awesome. And then somewhere in the middle is good stuff, wrapped in a bit of what I’d call shtick, you know, learn, you know, what will blah, blah, blah, from a hostage negotiator. Okay. Well, most of us in business are, don’t get a call at two o’clock in conference room C is going to put a gun to someone’s head. Can you figure that out? Talk a little bit about the power of this in corporate because as a business guy is when we first started working together, like, wow, I thought I’m having to tell, you know, I’ve got it.
Peter Winick (35m 58s):
You know, here’s my schedule. And I got to communicate some bad news to a client or a price increase of 3% on a five-year thing. And I’m losing to business folks.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (36m 12s):
So it’s interesting that, you know, it became more and more evident as we’re doing the podcast. And which is really the premise of starting the podcast is that the doctor patient relationship is extremely similar to the leader team member relationship in business. And that if you can teach your leaders how to communicate, we know in business, right? The biggest problem is turnover. It costs millions and millions of dollars every year and loyalty to the company and to the leader, we know that most people leave their job. Not because of the money they leave their job because they don’t like their boss. And so a lot of that has to do with communication and trust. We are, we had Stephen Covey on the podcast. We really got into working with businesses during COVID right?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (36m 52s):
So during COVID I got a call from one, well, a few. Now we started off with a major international company that called me through a friend and said, we’ve had a thousand people die of COVID in our company internationally. And there were in India, they were in a bunch of, and the human resource people are told that they have to call up the team members from home and say, Hey, you know, Johnny who used to sit in the cubicle next to you for the last 10 years he died. Wow. And they’re not really ready to do that. So I gave a one and a half hour webinar trained hundreds of human resource people from different countries. And then another one came in.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (37m 32s):
And so, so that’s when I really started realizing what the podcasts be awesome in that I can really blend leaders in healthcare and leaders in business and talk about how the communication techniques and being a good communicator will help you and how there’s very, a lot of similarities. Again, we’ve done now a year of podcasts. This has been awesome. And every week I learn, but also every week I get reaffirmed, what I’m doing is correct. And the God, my wife gets tired of me talking about the podcast because she’s like, yeah, you bring up the podcast. It’s because somebody will say something and I’ll go, yeah. You know what, Stephen Covey, I had him on my podcast and he said the same thing. And then I go, because every day it’s like Seinfeld episode, everybody remembers, you know, something happens to you during the day.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (38m 15s):
And you go though, that was a Seinfeld episode, you know? And so, so she goes, you really gonna start bringing up your podcast? I’m like, well, not really bringing up the podcast. I’m bringing up my awesome guests, but I’m learning so much. So it’s been great.
Liz Poret-Christ (38m 26s):
My husband, actually, when we go to a party or go to somebody’s house, they’re like, please don’t ask Liz what she does. Please don’t ask her. She’s just so evangelical. And like I did that the other day friend’s house stayed a couple of other friends over, and this guy was talking about how he hates his job. He’s in banking, any hates his job because he hates his boss. And I go, well, you know, people don’t leave companies. They leave leaders. And he was like, my husband’s like, oh God, here she goes. I’m like, we had an episode of our podcast and I started talking about it and he’s like, yeah, there she goes again. So it’s so true.
Liz Poret-Christ (39m 7s):
It’s so true that the relationships are the same, whether it be business or medicine, that trust is everything.
Peter Winick (39m 12s):
Yeah. It’s just that what we’re focusing on is different, you know, onto the podcast, it’s been a year, right? So this is sort of a, we’re using this as a milestone to say, wait, let’s talk to the folks behind the microphone and a little bit of a different way about the journey, the struggles, the passion, the goals. And I’ve never worked with two more passionate. I mean, companies talk all day about mission-driven whatever. And it’s like, well, you sell tires. It’s like, I get it. Not the companies are bad. There are companies that are more mission driven than other, but I’ve never seen one that is truly 1000% mission driven in every touch point of working with you guys, sort of behind the scenes in front of the scenes, delivering the outcomes on the other side are amazing.
Peter Winick (39m 57s):
So I hope that folks listening will keep the wishes of both Liz and Tony in terms of these words and say, Hey, we heard of this thing called The Orsini Way way. Let’s have a conversation on Liz’s side that sort of opening the aperture and the vision to give people, need the skills to do the things they need to do. And I think if any leader in health or in business, or thinking about this, like why would you expect anyone working for you to do a decent, decent job of something they have absolutely no training in. And then ask yourself to change that word with communication and say, you know, and be honest with yourself because most of us do a horrible job of developing these capabilities in our people, particularly when they’re front line and doing important, incredibly powerful, any final words from you two?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (40m 40s):
No, I mean, this has been a lot of fun the podcast over a year, again, you know, great people and Ann Bahr Thompson and Siobhan McHale and Stephen Covey and Liz and people like Noelle Moore who suffer tragedies and Michelle Neier , Marcus Engle. I mean, it’s been a great journey and I’m making more and more connections through it. We’ve been great, you know, and the The Orsini Way is still evolving. And to the point now where it’s wonderful that if your hospital or group doesn’t support it, you can just go online and buy a learning module yourself. And so I would just say, keep listening to the podcast, visit the TEDx, you’ll see what Liz and I are all about.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (41m 21s):
We’re still screaming on the mountaintop. We’re getting more and more traction. There’s been some, you know, a lot of movement, people are starting to realize that this works, visit the website The Orsini Way.com and just, you know, try it out. It’s an hour of your time as a little as an hour of your time. And you’re going to be like, wow, I want more of this. This is awesome. So it’s been a lot of fun, Liz. I, you know, I tell this all the time she quits, she always done, I put pressure on her. I’m like, I can’t do it without her because to look at every aspect that she does from the experience of being a mother of a sick child and her other experiences and her dedication has been amazing. And I can do my job as a doctor and worry about the presentations and the workshops and doing my thing and let Liz handle everything else, which is awesome.
Liz Poret-Christ (42m 12s):
I would just add that. I never thought a pandemic could have helped drive our ambition even further than it did because when COVID hit, you know, we couldn’t go into hospitals and we couldn’t do our training. And very early in, I would say, March, I called Tony and said, we need to pivot. And this is some ideas of how, what do you think? And as we do with everything, we go over it, we take it apart. We dissect it. We figure out the best way that we can do it and put our spin on it and his vision. And we rearranged our entire company. And when Tony said, I want to start a podcast, I was like, we really need something else we need to do, but okay.
Liz Poret-Christ (42m 55s):
You’re the visionary. Okay. I have complete faith that if you think this is a good idea, we’ll do it. And it’s been so amazing. I was never really a podcast listener before, but I find that you can just be so productive and get so much from a podcast at the same time. Like I can walk four miles and listened to an amazing podcast and like just multitask my brains out. It’s amazing. And we changed all of our training to be virtual. So if there’s a client that’s too far away, we can address those needs now, too. And that’s been something that I don’t know if we would have been shoved to do that before, but so grateful that we’ve been able to pivot in that way.
Liz Poret-Christ (43m 35s):
And I think it’s only helped us become stronger. So it’s been, it’s such a great journey. I couldn’t have asked for a better job.
Peter Winick (43m 42s):
Well, this has been great. I want to thank you both. You’re both heroes and doing amazing work and we just gotta get more of an out there to more people every single day, as many formats and modalities as we can to change the world for the better. So thank you both.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (43m 56s):
Thank you. And if you’re having someone that you want, you think would be great for this podcast, talk about difficult conversations. Let us know that the Orsini way.com you can email Liz or I, and just, we’re going to keep moving forward. It’s been so much fun. Thank you, Peter. Okay. If you liked this podcast, please go ahead and hit follow. It’s no longer subscribe on podcasts. There was too much confusion on my understanding is that people thought they had to pay when they hit subscribe. So now it’s the follow button for podcasts. We’re on apple, Amazon, Google, you name it. We’re on everyone. If you want to find out more about what we do, just go ahead and visit us at The Orsini way.com. Thank you everyone. Thank you, Peter. Appreciate it. Well, before we leave, I want to thank you for listening to this episode of difficult conversations lessons I learned as an ICU physician.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (44m 43s):
I want to think The Finley Project for being such an amazing organization, please, everyone who’s listening to this episode. Go ahead. Visit The Finley Project.org. See the amazing things they’re doing. I’ve seen this organization literally saved the lives of mothers who lost infants. So the find out more go to The Finley Project.org. Thank you. And I will see you again on Tuesday.
Announcer (45m 7s):
If you enjoy this podcast, please hit the subscribe button and leave a comment and review to contact Dr. Orsini and his team, or to suggest guests for future podcasts, visit us@theOrsiniway.com. The comments and opinions of the interviewer and guests on this podcast are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of their present and past employers or institutions.