VA secretary encourages ‘relentless’ leadership, advocacy in diabetes care
ORLANDO — The interim undersecretary for health for the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs encouraged diabetes educators “not to let up” in their push for advocacy and innovation, noting how dramatically diabetes educators have changed the face of disease management since the days of inpatient diabetes education.
“How many people think change is a good idea?” Carolyn Clancy, MD, a clinical associate professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine, asked the attendees at the American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting. Changing others is easier than changing one’s self, she said.
“Our biggest challenge in health care today is chronic diseases,” Clancy said. She encouraged daring, “unrelenting” leadership in health care, especially when educators are pushing for change in education systems. “The kind of change that health care needs right now is sustained, and it’s going to take time. … Do not stop.”
“Empowering and supporting people is incredibly important,” Clancy said, both of patients and of teams of health care providers working together in diabetes care. Clancy’s encouragement is relevant in an interdisciplinary, collaborative health care environment. “One of the things we’re just starting to understand are the ecosystems in health care in this country are pretty distinct,” she said.
‘Transformational’ health care
“Transformational leadership enhances motivation, morale and performance. You’re probably sick of hearing that word, too,” Clancy said. “But transformation is very much part of your life if you’re in health care.”
“Health care itself is changing rapidly — it’s not just that it’s moved to outpatient. It’s not just that there’s a growing demand particularly among older folks.”
Clancy emphasized the utmost importance of embracing technology to benefit both patient management and diabetes education leadership. “The pace of change and speed of response time now required has made facility with technology an integral aspect of leadership effectiveness,” Clancy said in her presentation. “New technology can be a hierarchy-buster, too.” She was quick to address overconfidence in technology, however, saying, “People make health care safer. Technology only enables that.” — by Reagan Copeland
For more information: Clancy C. GS04. Presented at: The American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting 2014; August 6-9, 2014; Orlando, Fla.