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I am Dr. John Bailitz, Director of Ultrasound and Collaborative Research at Cook County: How I Work Smarter

Benjamin Azan, MD |

As the “How I Work Smarter” series matures, certain patterns emerge. One clear trend is that ultrasonographers have been present front and center. Today’s installment continue the course with Dr. John Bailitz (@AllInCoachMD) up at bat. Dr. Bailitz is an example to follow for future thinking EM clinician-academicians. While he has mastered the traditional avenues of academics via course leadership, publications, and national presentations, he has also embraced digital scholarship. He is the Chair of ACEP Online Education Subcommittee, blogs at How2TrainHeroes, and is on the organizing committee for SMACC 2015. He generously accepted Chris Nickson’s invitation to share his wisdom on how he works smarter.


  • Bailitz-Square 200pxName: John Bailitz
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Current job:  Emergency Medicine Attending, Emergency Ultrasound Division Director, Collaborative Research Director at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County
  • Most important Job: Husband and dad of four great kids.
  • One word that best describes how you work: Collaborative
  • Current mobile device: iPhone
  • Current computer: Way too many. Today the computer is just a portal to the internet that connects the individual to everyone.

What’s your office workspace setup like?


Bailitz-Workspace-600pxAnywhere I have internet access. But my best work is done in two quiet offices with a ton of pictures of my wife and kids, black and white (I am an ultrasound geek) photos of my heroes on the walls, a few thank you cards from my trainees and patients, multi-screen macs, and a very wide variety of music playing in the background. 

What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?

Prioritize your life. I agree with Chris Nickson, multitasking is a myth. Twice a day I update my Action Plan. For me, this is a big table in a google document with:

  • My roles
  • List of things to do
  • Time frames for completion 
    • days-week
    • week-months
    • months-year

What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?

View email as an “On Demand” tool – Only review email when you want to communicate. Start your day’s projects first, then check email once at lunch. 

What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?

I always ask my trainees to present at the bedside. This puts the patient center stage, gets me away from the internet, teaches the student how a senior colleague interacts with patients and makes clinical decisions, as well as saves time having to go back and repeat an incomplete H&P.

ED charting: Macros or no macros?

Macros – but keep it concise and focused. Our goal is not to type everything the patient said, but to summarize and interpret the case presentation.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?

From a few of my heroes:

  • “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
  • “Happiness occurs when we devote ourselves to meaningful work, that we are passionate about, and requires our unique strengths.” – Martin Seligman
  • “If you see a problem  in this world, that you are able to help solve, and in so doing make the world a better place, then you have a moral obligation to do so.” – Robert Simon
  • “Never cease trying to be the very best you can become – effort is the ultimate measure of success. I required the same in every practice, nothing less than their best effort. And I gave the same.” – Coach Wooden

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

Building on Chris Nickson’s and Scott Weingart’s How to Work Smarter Ideas: Continually delete, filecomplete, delegate, scheduleautomateintegrate, and collaborate.

  • Delete pointless emails and projects.
  • File away info for later in your email folders.
  • Complete quick tasks.
  • Delegate tasks to your team members.
  • Schedule using google calendar and reminders to complete tasks that require more work.
  • Automate EVERYTHING that can possibly be automated to reduce BS admin work for your team later on.
  • Integrate “new projects” into existing projects i.e. Have your medical students work with your fellows and residents on one academic day each week.
  • Collaborate – a lot of great people are willing to help if you just ask.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?

  1. Resa Lewiss 
  2. Roger Harris

Author information

Benjamin Azan, MD

Benjamin Azan, MD

Emergency Physician
Lincoln Medical Center
Founder/Editor of foambase.org

The post I am Dr. John Bailitz, Director of Ultrasound and Collaborative Research at Cook County: How I Work Smarter appeared first on ALiEM.

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