Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 164 | January 24, 2022

Reaching Peak Performance in Medicine

Brian Ferguson

Founder and CEO of Arena Labs

Brian Ferguson

Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. On today’s episode we will be talking about High Performance Medicine. I have the pleasure of having as my guest, Brian Ferguson, who is the founder and CEO of Arena Labs, a company that has pioneered the field of High Performance Medicine. Before founding Arena Labs, Brian served in the military as a Navy SEAL Officer. Aside from his duties at the tactical level, he worked with senior leaders to understand the impact of accelerating technology on the modern battlefield. Brian spent his career working in high performance organizations, learning from leaders and decision makers in the U.S. national security, the military, and technology which helped him build Arena Labs. Brian and Arena Labs are on a mission to re-imagine healthcare, training doctors and nurses as elite performers by investigating clinicians with the same training tools and technology as Navy SEALS, Olympic athletes, and creative masters. Arena Labs believes hospitals can reduce burnout and provide healthcare teams with the ability to flourish in the face of a demanding stressful career.

We start out getting to know who Brian Ferguson is, how he became a Navy SEAL, the story behind Arena Labs, and the toolkit he developed to help physicians and nurses manage a stressful high consequence environment. He tells us about WHOOP, who they’ve partnered with to provide a wearable sensor and explains how they use it. We learn more about Arena Labs long-term goal and how Brian would love to see a world where healthcare sees them as a trusted, necessary partner for every clinician in the world, helping them understand their biomarkers, improve their sleep, and how to think about the tools for dealing with stress Dr. Orsini talks about the importance of data for hospitals with nurses and physicians. Brian explains how in special operations and pro sports, modern technology and data have made us smarter in understanding the human system. He uses an analogy of concussion protocols in pro sport and military. Arena Labs number one value is humility, and Brian elaborates how they can provide clinicians with the toolkit to feel more confident in the face of stress. Brian shares some valuable tips on how to get through a stressful situation, We end with Brian explaining what happened in the tale of two operating rooms, and he shares two difficult conversations he’s had and how he navigated through them. If you enjoyed this podcast, please go ahead and hit subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

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