Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 156 | October 5, 2021

The State Of Healthcare - Moving Forward

Steve Lawler

President & CEO, North Carolina Healthcare Association

Steve Lawler

Welcome to Difficult Conversations – Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. On this episode, I have the honor to have as my guest, Steve Lawler, President of the North Carolina Healthcare Association since 2017. Prior to his current position, Steve served various roles, in healthcare in Eastern North Carolina for over twenty years, including seven years as the President of Greenville Hospital. He served as Senior Vice President Regional Group of Carolinas HealthCare System until his current role as President of the North Carolina Healthcare Association. As always, Dr. Orsini keeps his promise about two things: that you will feel inspired, and you will have learned valuable lessons to be a better and more compassionate communicator.

Steve tells us about his journey to becoming the President of North Carolina Health Care Associates. We learn more about the North Carolina Healthcare Association and Steve’s important role. Dr. Orsini mentions how we are in a crisis with healthcare right now as it is getting more expensive, and Steve shares his thoughts on what healthcare workers can do to make the numbers work better and still keep high quality of care.

We also find out from Dr. Orsini that one of the best things that happened to healthcare in the last ten years was the elevation of the patient experience. Steve tells us one of the biggest challenges to healthcare is to maintain the humanization of medicine and how we need to improve connections with communities. Steve tells us a great story about a minister that pointed out to him where he was getting it wrong and helped him connect in a more meaningful way to get stuff done.

Also, he gives advice on how a community doctor can take the time to connect and talk to their patients, especially when there’s never really enough time. Dr. Orsini touches on how we really need to train doctors more on how to form that relationship with patients, build rapport, find commonality, and make a personal connection with a patient. Dr. Orsini and Steve chat about the younger generation and how the doctor-patient relationship should be less informational, and more relational. Find out where Steve thinks healthcare will be ten years from now, and thankfully it looks like we are going in the right direction!

We end with Steve telling us the most difficult conversation he’s had, which was with his aging parents, and he shares advice on the best way to navigate through this conversation.

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