Williams says health caregivers must put patient needs first


UNT Health Science Center President Michael R. Williams has a vision for caregivers of the future.

They are active listeners with high emotional intelligence. They are leaders, work well on a team and understand their value. They know how to communicate with patients and patients’ families.

“Patients want a caregiver who will sit down with them and not have their back to them while they work on a computer,” said Williams, DO, MD, MBA. “Patients want a caregiver who will turn around and find out what they need and how they can work together to get them in the best health. That’s what we are training our students to be at the UNT Health Science Center.”

Dr. Williams made his remarks at the Hilton Fort Worth Hotel during his keynote address at the 46th annual Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions meeting. The meeting, which continues through Saturday, brings together more than 200 health professions advisors and school staff from across Texas to promote excellence in pre-health professions advising.

The association represents a pivotal component in the development of future health care professionals in the state of Texas. UNTHSC last hosted the meeting in 2005.

Health care is currently in a “triple crisis,” Dr. Williams said.  Employers are struggling to manage health care costs, providers are struggling with the transition from a traditional volume-based system to one that is value based, and customers are often left out of the conversation about their health.

UNTHSC has spent the last year creating a value-based culture built on trust, Dr. Williams said. Team members are empowered to make good decisions rather than wait for instructions from a top-down hierarchy. They do not fear failure.

“We are all agreeing to become part of the same community with a certain set of values,” Dr. Williams said. “We know everyone around us has our back and is here for the same purpose. That’s how you build a value-based culture for the future.”

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