Doctors’ Day

During many milestones in our lives, a doctor was in the picture. From birth to broken arms to end of life, doctors have been making a difference in our lives. And while any day is a good day to say thanks to these individuals, it’s especially fitting to say so on National Doctors’ Day

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, we have a chance to recognize their work and commitment during National Doctors’ Day.

The first Doctors’ Day observance was on March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The idea came from Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles Almond.  The red carnation is the symbolic flower used for this holiday. The first National Doctors’ Day was celebrated in 1991, and it is observed every year on March 30.

CHRISTUS Health’s top doctor, Chief Medical Officer Tom Diller, M.D., recently answered some questions about his role and what it means to be a modern day physician leader.


How long have you been in your current role?

I have been the CMO for CHRISTUS Health for a little over 2 years.  Prior to that, I was a VP and System Chief Quality and Safety Officer for another large, academic health system.  All told, I have over 20 years of medical practice and 20 years of medical management.  I have served previously as a CMO for a provider owned health plan, a 90 physician primary care group practice and a medium sized community hospital.

Many people think of medicine as a “calling” Would you agree?  Why or why not?

I would definitely agree that medicine is a “calling”.  All physicians who I know aspire to be the best physician they can be.  Being a physician is not just a job. You go to work each day with the goal of serving the needs of their patients.  There is an incredible bond between the physician and patient.  The patient puts their trust in the physician and the physician strives to provide the best care possible. 

What does it take to be a doctor in today’s health care landscape?

Two major requirements for a physician have been around for decades.  First, the physician must have the best interest of the patient constantly in mind.  As discussed previously, medicine is a calling with the goal of serving the patient’s needs.  Second, the physician must be well trained, up to date and an excellent clinician.  I think the role of physician is significantly changing over time and the requirements today are evolving.  Today, the physician must be more data driven with a focus on the population of patients they serve, not just each individual patient.  This means that it is expected that each patient receive great care, but also that their population of patients also receives great care.  The practice of medicine is now much more team oriented.  The knowledge base for medicine has expanded so greatly over the past 20-30 years that it is almost impossible for individual physicians to remain experts in all aspects of medicine.  This requires them to practice as part of a well communicating team, rather than as individual practitioners that was common years ago.  The requirements for physicians to become excellent communicators with the patients and also with families but also with other members of the care team have greatly increased.  Finally, the only way to manage the complex information that is now available is to embrace technology.  Thus, physicians have had to become facile with the use of a variety of technology solutions to enhance their practice.

What would you like to say to our physician leaders in the communities we serve?

Changes that are occurring today in health care are extensive.  These changes were actually laid out about 15 to 20 years ago.  They are extensive and transforming the practice of medicine.  In order to make the transition, which is demanded by patients and many other stakeholders, we need excellent physician leaders to show us the way.  What you do is incredibly important and will affect the lives of patients for years into the future.  We need you!!!  Thank you for all you do!!!