character in healthcare industry
Employee Benefits

The Character of Healthcare

Scott Schoenvogel
Scott Schoenvogel
President, SimplePay Health

If you were to catch me in a quiet moment and ask what concerns me most, I would tell you my greatest concern is whether or not I will raise my children with a strong sense of character and values. I want my children to find purpose, seek to serve others before themselves, possess a strong work ethic, and always act with both kindness and integrity. When I learn from those who are smarter than I am on how best to accomplish these character traits, the consistent answer is to lead by example — which is why you now understand my concern as no one is more acutely aware of my personal shortcomings than I am!

As we work every day to impact time, money, and lives at Holmes Murphy, I also worry that the healthcare industry needs stronger character and values in order to deliver the type of care all of us need and deserve when we become patients.

In David Brooks’ book “The Road to Character,” character is defined as an unshakable commitment to doing good using a sensible moral vocabulary. This idea of a moral vocabulary stuck with me because I often explain to healthcare industry newcomers that the reason the healthcare industry is so complex and unlike any other industry is because it has such a strong moral and social aspect. To meet these immense moral and social obligations, we can see a strong commitment to character in the very roots of medicine and our industry through the Hippocratic Oath which locks physicians into a moral code with concepts like “First Do No Harm.” It’s the unshakable commitment to these types of healthcare values which I believe are necessary to build the type of character in healthcare necessary for the industry to deliver on its very best promises.

In my next several blogs, I intend to explore areas of both high and low character in the healthcare industry. While low character may be more interesting than high character, I will start the journey by encouraging you to watch an example of high character on Netflix called “The Mayo Clinic.” There are no overnight sensations or technology unicorns in this story. Instead, it’s the story of how the Mayo family, led by a poor English immigrant who trained as a clothing tailor, created some of the world’s best surgeons and made Rochester, Minnesota, one of the greatest centers of healthcare excellence and healing in the entire world. I love the story because it exhibits an unshakable commitment or what I call “perseverance” to some of my favorite character traits…hard work, putting the patient (or client) first, a passion for constant learning, and an appreciation for collective wisdom or, in other words, teamwork. These are all character traits I associate with another great company founded not too long after the Mayo Clinic just south of Rochester on the plains of Iowa — Holmes Murphy. I’m proud to be here and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you continuously on this What Up Holmes blog platform!

I’d also love to chat with you at any time about your thoughts. Feel free to reach out!

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