Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Welcome to 2019!

Welcome to 2019!

I hope you had a great holiday season.

Zig Ziglar, the late motivational speaker was known for putting his thoughts in plain English. Before he would take the stage to speak to hundreds of people, he would often say, “Old Zig is going to give it to them in cornbread language.” 

When I was a boy, my sweet late mother would put on a pot of pinto beans virtually every morning. Beans were cheap and that is what we would eat later in the day. She would usually bake some cornbread. On our best days, we had some homegrown tomatoes and onions to go with our beans and cornbread. What I am trying to say is that I understand cornbread language—it’s language that is basic and to the fact. Unadorned, one might say.

It seems to me we need more plain language in medicine when interacting with our patients. Our patients have to navigate discussions related to chronic disease, polypharmacy, long-term care, palliative care, advanced directives and insurance complexities.  Let’s help them out in our communication—not use so much jargon and multisyllabic words. We know the social determinants of health, and other factors, such as health literacy, create challenges for everyone, particularly among older adults and other underserved populations.

Here are some basic questions we need to consider and my attempt to place one of our TTUHSC values with each. (You might have different ideas. I respect those and would like to hear them. Stop by and visit or drop me an email.) But, here goes:

How well do the doctors of Texas Tech Physicians and staff communicate internally with other doctors (and their staffs) and with our patients?

This represents the One Team Value and exemplifies collaboration through open communication.

How well do we explain things and take follow-up actions? Do we go that extra mile? Can we find five extra minutes to help someone who needs help or is ready to set another appointment? 

This represents our Beyond Service Value and is where we anticipate the needs of others and respond with a generous heart.

How easy are we to contact? Do we answer the phone? Do we respond quickly to messages received over the portal? 

This represents the Kindhearted Value, by acknowledging each other with courtesy. Who wants to be put on hold or have his/her messages ignored?

As you know, this is the culture we are trying to create. In many cases, this is the culture we have today. Yes, we’ve had great values for the past fifty years (and most of us would say we learned them as a child)—let’s not debate that, but rather; as we begin this new year, focus on what has been articulated in word, poster, (and let’s hope), deed throughout Texas Tech Physicians and the entire Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Remember, it’s a work in progress—no reason for anyone to overly fret over the pace of progress as long as we are moving forward. We will get there. Hopefully, the coaching sessions are helping, (I’ve received mine!) and the posters throughout our building remind us of our values in a straightforward, unambiguous language. Zig Ziglar might say, cornbread language.