Patrick Takashahi

Patrick Takahashi
Episode 109

Join host Japhet De Oliveira for an engaging conversation with Patrick Takahashi, the System Chief Medical Officer at Adventist Health, as they discuss Patrick's role as a medical officer, the difficulty of closing his medical practice, and his childhood dream of fixing traffic lights.
Libsyn Podcast
"I always have a saying that the sun is warm, the grass is green, but not everybody feels that."

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story and Experience podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, welcome, friends, to another episode of the Story and Experience podcast. I'm here with a new guest, delighted to meet this guest. Delighted to introduce you to this person. We have a hundred questions and they are progressively more vulnerable, more open about stories and experience that shaped this guest into the leader that they are. So I'm going to ask the first 10 and then I'm going to hand over to them to choose numbers between 11 and 100 and we will begin as, they're looking positive right now, so this is a good sign. Let's begin with, could you tell us your name and does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Patrick Takahashi: Patrick Takahashi, and I would definitely say that people mispronounce my name. It's very commonplace and that's why they oftentimes refer to me as either Patrick or Dr T.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh. Hey, Dr. T. That's nice. But Takahashi is not that hard.

Patrick Takahashi: I would hope not. Once you get used to it, yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. All right. What do you do for work?

Patrick Takahashi: I am the System Chief Medical Officer at Adventist Health.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, and that means, I mean, you could unpack that for me.

Patrick Takahashi: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Imagine... Yeah, teach me, teach me.

Patrick Takahashi: What that means is that I actually am overseeing quite a bit of the enterprise and both from a geographical perspective, but also from a service line perspective. So I'm responsible for markets that are Fresno South in California and also have responsibilities in certain domains as it pertains to departments of quality, medical staff, information technology in the space of clinical informatics. Those are areas that I go ahead and supervise.

Japhet De Oliveira: I could have sworn it was much easier than that.

Patrick Takahashi: I wish it was.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm glad you do that. That's great. How long have you been doing this?

Patrick Takahashi: I've been doing this for, the actual position itself that's defined now, about a year and a half. At Adventist Health, I've been here for five years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's great. That's great. And then what did you do before you were with Adventist Health?

Patrick Takahashi: Previous to Adventist Health, I was the CMIO for Verity Health, which is also a California based health system. Or was, and they underwent bankruptcy, unfortunately. But they were known as the Daughters of Charity Health system previously.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice, nice. So have you been in medicine your entire life?

Patrick Takahashi: I have. I have been in medicine, born and raised in California, and I have not deviated from that.

Japhet De Oliveira: What kind of medicine have you been in?

Patrick Takahashi: My background is gastroenterology. I also have background in internal medicine, obviously as a result of that. But nonetheless, I've been a gastroenterologist or had been for the last 24 years in practice. Recently just went ahead and closed my practice.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you did? Wow. Was that complex?

Patrick Takahashi: Very difficult. It's very hard to go ahead and say goodbye to so many patients, but more importantly, friends that you develop through the years. As patients, it becomes very close in terms of how you interact and what they feel and what you feel.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's interesting, Patrick. I mean, I have some friends of mine who are doctors and some of them actually are my cardiologist and I would consider them to be a good friend, but not everybody has that relationship with their doctor. So is it easy for doctors to be friends with people, with their patients?

Patrick Takahashi: Doctors have the unique opportunity to go ahead and reach out to patients in ways that patients want to reach out to other people in different disciplines. And it really depends on the doctor. I think that it can be very easy and patients always want to go ahead and share their stories. You'd be surprised at what comes across in an exam room, but you learn so much about one another during those exchanges and that grows as part of the trust that develops and the ability to go ahead and connect with a patient.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's really good. Thank you for sharing that. So now you said you were born in California?

Patrick Takahashi: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. And so when you were a child, what did you imagine you would grow up to be?

Patrick Takahashi: That is a... Japhet I would go ahead and tell you the first thing that I thought I would be doing is fixing traffic lights.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Patrick Takahashi: ... for the city.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. I love this. Okay. For the city. Well, that's great. And when you say fix them, make them all go green or?

Patrick Takahashi: Well, I always had a vision, I don't know what you would call it. It's not an engineering position, but it'd be more like an urban planner, I guess, where you would look at things that would not be flowing properly or how you would manage traffic. And I always tried to think, well, how can we go ahead and make it better? How do we make it more fun so that certain cars can pass up this intersection at the right time? How do I design a left-hand turn so... These are wild ideas.

Japhet De Oliveira: These are wild. Well, I'm glad you're a system thinking leader now, so that's great. Oh, that's good. Well, yeah, I don't know where to go with that. That's great. Hey, in the morning when you get up, we'll go to the questions again, in the morning when you get up, first drink of the day, water, coffee, tea, liquor, green smoothie.

Patrick Takahashi: Water.

Japhet De Oliveira: Water. And warm, cold?

Patrick Takahashi: Tap water.

Japhet De Oliveira: Tap water.

Patrick Takahashi: At room temperature.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right, good for you.

Patrick Takahashi: It's my go-to drink and I'm sticking with it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, that's fantastic. If people described your personality, Patrick, would they say you were an introvert or an extrovert and would you agree with what they say?

Patrick Takahashi: I would think that most people would call me an introvert by nature. I look at myself as a quiet person.

Japhet De Oliveira: And are you?

Patrick Takahashi: It depends who you ask. I think it really depends who you ask. Certain people would say that I would be more reserved in terms of coming out with what may be festering at the top of my mind. But nonetheless, there are other people who feel as though I do go ahead and come out with the things that need to be addressed, whether that's at home, if I talk to my wife, she says, "Oh, you've definitely come out very rapidly."

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. It's good to hear another voice. Habits, early riser or late night owl.

Patrick Takahashi: Ooh. Started as a late night owl, but now I feel I've gravitated more towards an early riser.

Japhet De Oliveira: And what's early for you?

Patrick Takahashi: I would say 6:00 A.M.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Okay. Hey, that's good. That's good. All right, last question in this block here, it's just a leadership question. Are you a backseat driver?

Patrick Takahashi: Clarity on that.

Japhet De Oliveira: When you think about leading, the metaphor is that if you're in the car, do you let the person drive? Do you watch them? Do you assist them? Do you guide them? And same with work, do you feel like you need to be in the driving seat or?

Patrick Takahashi: Well, if road trips are an equivalent, I do like to drive, so I do like to drive, but I have no hesitation being in the backseat. I'll give a recent example. My son had come back for the holidays and we were going on a small trip locally and I asked Brandon, "Would you mind driving?" And I was commenting him, I said, I like the view from the backseat. It's very different in terms of the perspective. And I think there's something to be said about leadership as well. I think you can go ahead and blend both aspects and you get a different perspective of what needs to be done. So I think it's important to be able to go ahead and do both sides.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. I like that. Good. Well, the floor is open now, so you get to pick between 11 and 100. Where you want to go?

Patrick Takahashi: Let's go with lucky number 13.

Japhet De Oliveira: 13. All right. Walk us through, Patrick, your ideal end of your day.

Patrick Takahashi: The end of a day that I feel would be ideal would be able to close a lot of the events that I had done during the day. Being able to go ahead and have closure, feel good about it, and move on to home in a space where I feel very good and that I got a lot of things accomplished. Yeah, that's always what I feel good about.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is good. That is good to feel that way. That's good. All right. When next after your lucky 13?

Patrick Takahashi: 17.

Japhet De Oliveira: 17. Ooh, you look at the calendar for the entire year. Share one day that is the most important and why?

Patrick Takahashi: Christmas Day.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah.

Patrick Takahashi: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Are you a Christmas fan? Clearly.

Patrick Takahashi: I'm a big fan.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Patrick Takahashi: It's obviously a time of great importance. It's a time of great reflection. I think it's very important to go ahead and understand our purpose on this earth. And left unsaid, it's so critical to what we stand for.

Japhet De Oliveira: I like that. I may be with you. That's good. All right. That was 17. So where next?

Patrick Takahashi: Let's pick 35.

Japhet De Oliveira: 35. All right. Ooh, share a special interest, unique talent that you have.

Patrick Takahashi: One unique hobby that I had previously and had to do more with audio file. I wouldn't call it unique, but it was one of my hobbies and really trying to go ahead and fine tune sound to go ahead and make sure that you're capturing the highest quality sound that you could. And I think that it would really make me feel good. Being able to record on tape, for instance, that was always something of a challenge, but I felt as though a high quality tape would make me feel good. And being able to send those tapes to other individuals and they would be able to appreciate that, that made me feel good.

Japhet De Oliveira: What do you like to record? Oh, No..

Patrick Takahashi: All sorts of genres of music.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Patrick Takahashi: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: So you enjoy audio engineering?

Patrick Takahashi: I do. I think I would call myself as a dabbler in that, but I really do enjoy the concept.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Music recording is very hard.

Patrick Takahashi: It is. Music is difficult. Being able to go ahead and also not only engineer, but to create, in modern terms, it would be a playlist, and the sequence of the songs would be very important in terms of getting emphasis to the audience. And I would derive a lot of pleasure thinking, well, what would be the next sequence in terms of what would flow naturally as part of the musical story.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. That's really good. It is great to hear this creative side, this artistic side of you. That's fantastic. Thank you. All right. Where next?

Patrick Takahashi: Let's go a little more difficult. How about 72?

Japhet De Oliveira: 72. All right. 72 it is. Tell us about what you want to do when you retire, and then why are you waiting?

Patrick Takahashi: When I retire, I see myself still continuing some sort of work in the healthcare arena. Now what that entails, in an ideal world, I would like to go ahead and continue to contribute to that mission. Now, I might not be able to do operational items, but I do feel as though I would love to give guidance for anyone who would listen to my ideas. But I thought that would be something that would be fun. I always felt, I remember my mother, who's still alive, she always tells me, "You're on this earth for a purpose. Make sure you maximize that time." I could see myself doing that. And why am I waiting? I think that my work is left undone at this time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that is a good word. That is a good word. I like that. Good. That was 72. So where next, sir?

Patrick Takahashi: Let's half that. We'll go to 35.

Japhet De Oliveira: 35.

Patrick Takahashi: Or 36.

Japhet De Oliveira: 36. All right. Ooh, tell us about one thing you hope never changes.

Patrick Takahashi: I hope that my perspective on people and the ability to go ahead and maintain that positivity will never change. It's one of the things that I hold dear to my heart is being able to float passion through everything that I do. I really feel that's the fuel. The engine to driving things, whether at home, whether at work, wherever it may be. I feel as though that's the magic ingredient.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you think there's something that's learned or something that is just inside people?

Patrick Takahashi: There's a certain amount that I believe is derived from internally, but it can be cultivated. I do think that there's an ability to improve that and there are some people who may unwittingly decrease their passion, and you have to always keep in mind how does your behavior shape those around you? What do they feel off of you with that energy? I think that's very important.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's true. That's true.

Patrick Takahashi: There's a responsibility that we have to maintaining that energy and it's for ourselves, but also to the greater good of the people around us.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Fantastic. All right, where next, sir?

Patrick Takahashi: 49.

Japhet De Oliveira: 49. All right. Oh, what are you currently learning about and why?

Patrick Takahashi: From a work perspective, continually learning, one of the things that I always... My motto is, living and learning each day. And that's why we're here. And really trying to understand the perspective of others as we sit down. And I think it's important to go ahead and have that good ear. But I feel one of the things that I'm actively learning about has to do with refining leadership skills and what we try to do in our interpretation of ourselves. It really should be what do we feel is the interpretation of others around us? And we need to look at that. And that's what I'm trying to go ahead and grasp a little bit more through books, through other means to go ahead and understand what is the perspective of others upon us or of us.

Japhet De Oliveira: Cultivating leadership is not easy. Discovering leadership is not easy. What would be a secret that you would say, if somebody is looking for a leader, what should they be looking for?

Patrick Takahashi: A leader should always have a vision. I do think that they need to go ahead and have some sort of vision that they can share, a so-called north star. And if they're able to go ahead and share that vision, you're able to secure a lot more in terms of followers, and subsequently you can cultivate growth among those followers so they can form their own north stars. And that's important for me.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. I like that. And I agree. I agree wholeheartedly. I think vision is pretty critical. Yeah. Good. All right, where next?

Patrick Takahashi: Let's jump to the 62.

Japhet De Oliveira: 62. All right. Ooh, what does a sense of community mean to you, Patrick?

Patrick Takahashi: Community for me is making sure that we're there when the community needs us. And this may be very different depending on where you're at and when you're at. And it's up to us to go ahead and interpret that and to move forward quickly. For instance, in healthcare, we look at health and we look at the communities we serve. How do we understand what's required and what their goals are as a community? It's very important. I look at the community at work, I look at the communities at home. The one thing that unifies us is the passion to go ahead and make sure that we're supporting the communities at large, wherever our location is. So I do think it's important to have that resolute belief that I'm here for this community. I think it's more of a selfless type of thought process. I think you have to be able to consolidate and collaborate with those around you to form that community. It's an open sharing of ideas and if you don't get that, you're going to have a gap.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is good. That is good. All right. Where next then after that?

Patrick Takahashi: Oh, Japhet, let's see.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know.

Patrick Takahashi: Let's go to 88.

Japhet De Oliveira: 88. All right, here we go. Tell us about how your life has been different than what you imagined. Other than the traffic lights, right? But when you think about your life. Yeah.

Patrick Takahashi: A key stepping stone would be when I was in practice for quite some time and I was approached by a hospital administrator probably halfway through my clinical career. And we were friends. We developed a friendship through the years and it actually revolved around things outside of healthcare. But he knew some of my interests and he knew one of my interests revolved around technology and audio file work. He asked, "Would you be interested in working on the electronic health record that we're trying to get forth at the hospital? I just need somebody to help look at that." And I took that as, sure, why not? I'd love to help. Love to go ahead and get ingrained.

Little did I know that this started to escalate into different jobs at the hospital, different requests, and I started to find out a lot about myself and a skillset that I never knew about. And I always thought of myself as a physician who would retire as a physician, someone at the bedside. And that's evolved to a point where I'm a physician administrator who's now trying to go ahead and impart different ideas and trying to reach the greater population in terms of objectives and initiatives. And that's exciting, but it's so different than what I thought I was set out to do. I had no idea.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is fantastic. Let me ask you this as a clarifier. I have a friend of mine who would describe himself as a creative, who does business as opposed to a business minded person who does creative work. Would you say that in your world you are a physician who is able to do administration or that you naturally are administratively and then through the physician?

Patrick Takahashi: I'm definitely a physician who does administration.

Japhet De Oliveira: I think so too. I think so too. Yeah. You have that core about you.

Patrick Takahashi: It's fun. I feel as though you're able to go ahead and have your values that you stand for and being able to propagate that is important. It gives a sense of completeness.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It's a calling on your life.

Patrick Takahashi: It is.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Something that's never going to leave you.

Patrick Takahashi: I would hope not. I would hope not. If that happens, I'd be very disappointed.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. No. I think that's true of you, Patrick. For sure. Good. All right, where next, sir?

Patrick Takahashi: Oh, we haven't hit... How about 42?

Japhet De Oliveira: 42? Okay. Ooh, I hope you have a photo on your phone, but could you tell us the story behind the photo on your phone?

Patrick Takahashi: Let's pull out a recent one. I think that's more exciting. We can go ahead and do that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. You've got to describe the picture first, which is fantastic. All right.

Patrick Takahashi: This is a photo of two stuffed animals. One of them was created, crocheted by one of my patients.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh really?

Patrick Takahashi: And that his hobby, and he looked at them as, they're comfort. And so they would call them his comfort chickens and he would give them to his friends and family. And I thought that was great. There's a pig that's riding on top of the comfort animals and it's really more of a friendship that exists. And this came about because my son was talking about the weather most recently. He's over at school in the Chicago area. It's freezing cold. And I could tell that he was a little bit down, but I remember that he had this pig, this stuffed animal. I said, "Brandon, let's go ahead and let me remind you of something. You'll always have people, you always have friends, you always have memories that can get you through these rough times. And no matter how cold it is, remember who you have." And so just trying to go ahead and create a moment with a little levity.

And so it was a lot of fun. He got a good laugh out of it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's very good.

Patrick Takahashi: He was wondering, where did I pull that pig out? I said, "Oh, we found it in a drawer." He didn't believe me. We were able to pull that out. So I had a lot of fun with it. And then we had to explain the chicken, of course 'cause that was someone new.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's fantastic. That's pretty good.

Patrick Takahashi: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. Right. All right, where next?

Patrick Takahashi: 51.

Japhet De Oliveira: 51. All right. Tell us about something that you know do differently than most people do.

Patrick Takahashi: Well, if I had my choice with navigation, oftentimes I do it a bit differently is I will pop up the navigation immediately just to see the average time that it may take. But then I will turn it off immediately. So I institute the navigation just to get an idea of how long it may take. But then I turn it off because I usually like to go ahead and be guided by my past routes that I've always utilized. So it gives me an idea, am I on the right track or not?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. So do you ever have to rely on navigation to take you somewhere or you...

Patrick Takahashi: I don't rely on navigation for the most part to take me places. I'm always wondering where is this taking me? So I'd rather go ahead and do it myself, but I use it as a guide to a guide to say, am I on the right track? Click it in and click out and click out. So it's a little strange.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's unique. I appreciate that. Good. All right, where next after that?

Patrick Takahashi: 63.

Japhet De Oliveira: 63. Okay. Ooh, tell us about a time when you felt lost.

Patrick Takahashi: This will go back to high school and it's a time I remember trying to go ahead and figure out how I would adapt. I was always, when I got my driver's license, I was five foot four, 107 pounds. Now growing up I was always the shortest person in the class. So it was always at the mercy of jokes that may have surrounded height and going that route, and getting into that grade level of 10th, 11th grade, you feel as though there's something missing as you see classmates all grow rapidly, whether they're boys, whether they're girls, they're both sprouting. So I saw myself left behind and I thought to myself, is there something that I'm doing that's wrong? Am I eating poorly? Am I not getting enough sleep? So you feel as though there's a disconnect. That took some time to get through. But you realize you have great support in terms of parents, in terms of friends, and they'll explain to you, things come on time.

Japhet De Oliveira: They do. Things happen on time.

Patrick Takahashi: And it's not our time.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's good wisdom. That's good wisdom.

Patrick Takahashi: So I did learn that, and I think that was a very important lesson during that period that you're lost. That as children, we oftentimes think the worst. But you realize that's not the case. I think that has helped to go ahead and continue to feed that optimistic viewpoint that things will happen and they'll turn out for the better.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's true. That's good. I like that. Good. All right, we have time for two more. The last two numbers, where would you like to go?

Patrick Takahashi: I like 22.

Japhet De Oliveira: 22. All right. 22 it is. Here it is. It's, if you could be anywhere right now, where would you be? And you can say right here. No, no, I'm kidding. But if you could be anywhere right now-

Patrick Takahashi: We will not feed that ego. No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Where would it be?

Patrick Takahashi: Well, right now, considering how cold it is, I'd rather be in a tropical locale.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really? Okay.

Patrick Takahashi: Yes. So I'm hoping that I would be able to-

Japhet De Oliveira: Is it cold though, Patrick? I mean, I could have sworn it was like in the seventies that-

Patrick Takahashi: It is in the seventies and now it's interesting, the power of persuasion. After speaking to my son so frequently over the last few days, I'm starting to feel what he feels and he clued me into a camera that showed sleet and snow and how dry the snow was and how cold minus 17 with the windshield and minus 25 was. I think something tropical would be really nice right now.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is good. I like that. Good. All right. And then for your last number?

Patrick Takahashi: 82.

Japhet De Oliveira: 82, okay. If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why? Three things.

Patrick Takahashi: One would be, well, in terms of my family, my friends, and my perspective.

Japhet De Oliveira: So you would keep family, friends, and your perspective? Huh. What's unique about your perspective?

Patrick Takahashi: I do think you have to always be grounded in what you're doing and you have to always look at this from the other side. I always have a saying that the sun is warm, the grass is green, but not everybody feels that.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's true.

Patrick Takahashi: Not everybody feels that. And it's up to us to go ahead, whether it's in our personal lives, whether it's in our work lives, wherever it may be, if we have that perspective, that makes us better, not only for ourselves, but for the people that we're around. And that's important.

Japhet De Oliveira: Where did you learn to value perspective and discover that?

Patrick Takahashi: I think the key ingredient is that people like to see that you're listening. And when you do listen, you may be learning something new as opposed to when you're speaking, you're already saying something that you know. And that's something that I believe came from teachings that I read from the Dalai Lama. I remember at one point in college I read about that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Patrick Takahashi: That's something that's important.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. Patrick, it was an absolute pleasure to be able to talk to you. Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences as well. I want to encourage people to do the same as you said, listening to people, getting to know them, providing time. It's really good. Great for me, great for you, and for everybody else as well.

Patrick Takahashi: Japhet, I feel as though the ability to interact with people, have fun and learn something, that's what it's all about.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Patrick Takahashi: That's what life is about.

Japhet De Oliveira: I like that. I like that. It is good indeed. So blessings to you, Patrick. Blessings to everybody listening and we will connect again on another podcast.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for the Story and Experience podcast, we invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The Story and Experience podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.