Optimizing Resources for Women’s Health Care

This is an exciting time to be an ob-gyn. I begin my term as president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists at an opportune time, with ob-gyns at the forefront of change in women’s health care.

The scientific and technological advances in women’s health are arriving very quickly, with tremendous impact. We are enormously more effective in our ability to prevent, diagnose and treat disease. And there is every reason to believe that our capabilities will continue to improve.

I believe how we respond to change will be critical for continuing improvement of women’s health. There are a variety of ways individual ob-gyns can respond to the changing health care environment, including:

  • Assuming leadership roles in a variety of settings
  • Reducing the price of health care by connecting value to costs
  • Recognizing patients’ unmet and over-met needs
  • Utilizing technology based on clinical knowledge and outcomes research
  • Understanding how patients measure quality care

ACOG is also involved in a number of key collaborations focused on improving women’s health care. ACOG’s partnerships with organizations such as the Women’s Health Registry Alliance, the Choosing Wisely campaign, and the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative all contribute to the optimization of resources in women’s health.

In addition to all of ACOG’s current efforts, I will be targeting certain important areas in the coming year. I am appointing a task force on collaborative care, a working group on women’s health care team leadership, and a working group on practice transitions.

In this time of change, we must assume a conscientious and deep commitment to creating the future of women’s health care. Obstetricians and gynecologists care for women—exclusively. As such, the future of women’s health care is in our hands.Together we can make it happen.

Put Your Cell Phone Down and Operate

Advances in technology have enabled us all to be connected in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. From practically anywhere, we can send and receive texts and emails, pull up websites, and use apps to access a wealth of information with a push of a button. A recent New York Times article highlighted how computer and smartphone technology has also made its way into the hospital setting and surgery room.

Admittedly, these technologies can be wonderful tools for improving the health and well-being of our patients. But we can quickly lose sight of the very real downside these gadgets can pose to our patients. It would seem to be common sense that personal calls, texts, and online surfing have no place in the operating room, in our clinics, or in hospital areas where patient care is ongoing.

As these devices become even more ubiquitous and the pressure to immediately respond and constantly check in can be great, we must recognize that we cannot focus on our patients if we are simultaneously glued to our smartphone or tablet. Just as there has been a great deal of awareness about the dangers of texting or talking on a cell phone while driving (or even walking!), we must focus awareness on the patient safety risks with the same technology-related problems. 

As physicians, our priority is always the patient. To this end, we need to eliminate unnecessary distractions when we are taking care of our patients. Hospitals and medical practices should develop and institute firm policies about how and when these technologies can be used…and when they cannot.