OBHG Medical Director of Operations sharpens leadership skills for enhanced partnership

Ob Hospitalist Group (OBHG) physicians and leaders are always striving to become better at what they do, hungry for professional development opportunities. OBHG Medical Director of Operations (MDO) and OB/GYN Dr. Donald Toatley is no exception. Toatley lives outside of Phoenix, AZ and has served as MDO since October 2016. He also acts as team lead for our OB hospitalist programs at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and Chandler Regional Medical Center

In October 2017, Toatley completed the first four-day session for his leadership certification with the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) Leadership Academy. Toatley estimated that about 300 hospital medicine professionals, including physicians, advanced care providers, hospital medicine leaders, and practice administrators, were in attendance at the 2017 session in Scottsdale, AZ. Leadership Academy students must complete three sessions over the course of three years to obtain the certification that focuses on “overcoming leadership challenges, effectively advocating for a hospitalist program, conflict management, improving patient outcomes, and more.” Toatley is just beginning his certification program whereas two OBHG MDOs, Dr. Susie Wilson and Dr. Sue Smith, recently completed their certifications. SHM brings in industry experts, such as chief quality officers, academics, population health specialists, and patient experience experts, to teach the sessions.

“The Leadership Academy gives you perspective and helps you to understand your hospital partner and their challenges,” said Toatley. “Often, we don’t think like that. We want to truly meet the end need and optimize the throughput so our hospital partners have an effective and efficient work process and we want to ensure that we are delivering our overarching objective – to provide quality, safe care.”

As medical director of operations, Toatley must be knowledgeable in both clinical and administrative sides of the organization.

“You must take off your provider hat and start speaking the language of a hospital administrator or those focused on operations and quality improvement, which is very different from our clinical language,” he said.

He also believes that the Leadership Academy has helped him to think more critically about how OBHG aligns our mission, vision, and values to deliver our promise to our business partners – to elevate the standard of women’s healthcare.

“I’ve learned to really appreciate our stakeholders and understand their drivers while considering how OBHG, as part of this team, can work together to put the patient at the center.”

Seminar attendees took the DiSC® profile assessment to gain insight into their own personalities as well as gain a better appreciation and understanding of how different personalities interact and negotiate. Toatley says he will be able to better communicate with hospital leaders during business development discussions to understand their drivers – reduce cost, improve quality, and mange patient experience.

Toatley plans to take what he has learned thus far at the Leadership Academy and disseminate it to his hospitalist teams. He hopes to reinforce a culture of safety where there is no “shame and blame” but rather a “mend and blend” mindset when it comes to learning from and minimizing errors.

OBHG leaders are not simply leaders in title. Like Toatley, OBHG leaders take it upon themselves to exemplify principled leadership among business partners and OBHG employees every day. It is this level of dedication and passion that sets OBHG apart.

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