Do you have a Negativity Bias?

Oct 24, 2022
A healthcare worker in scrubs and a surgical mask giving a thumbs-down gesture on a yellow background.

In our noble profession where we improve and save lives, 

I believe that our culture in healthcare has a negative bias.  


We monitor morbidities and mortalities, workplace accidents, complications, and repeat admissions but rarely, if not never, salute all the successes, cures, and changed lives.  

Success and perfection are a given, an assumption, and an expectation.  


No one shares successes.



We don’t celebrate or congratulate good outcomes or cures.  

Successes disappear in a sea of volume and numbers.  Check that patient off and move on.  


But I needed a change from all the negativity.  

I wanted to fuel success, growth and positive momentum.  

As the owner and leader in my private practice, I chose to focus on what was important to me.

I began acknowledging and celebrating our positive results with my patients and my staff. 


On every screen in our office, we share thank you letters and positive reviews from patients who are eternally grateful. 



On our website, we share video testimonials of patients whose lives were changed and improved.  


When a patient was cured of cancer 5 years after completion of treatment without recurrence, rather than simply saying “We no longer require more surveillance. Goodbye.”, I send them a letter congratulating them for winning the fight against death and getting their life back.  


When a patient has a negative biopsy or test result, I encourage every one of them to celebrate because if it were a bad result, it would have changed their life forever.  


When I tell a patient I do not see any tumor or problem, I remind them that this is not a wasted visit or copay.  


It sets them free from worry.  I encourage them to go celebrate the great news.


Every day I feel lucky to have my own practice where I can see and hear the positives.  Where I can direct the energy toward a positive experience for the patient and my office.  Where I can enjoy my day.


In the battle between fear and hope, I remind my patients to focus on their hopes and dreams rather than their fears.  


When I look into the mirror, I try to do the same.


How about you?

How do you avoid medicine’s negativity bias?

How do you push your balance to gratitude over fear?


We’d like to hear from you.  Let us know.

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