Inspired by his parents, a country doctor and a nurse, Dr. David Howes decided early on to go into primary care. His experience crafting and sailing boats has taught him how to build and helm a sustainable health care system—one that is carefully aligned, high in quality and long on value.


7 AM: I always start my day by reading the news to find out what’s going on locally, as well as throughout the healthcare industry. Then I try to get caught up on email even before I get to the office, because once I arrive its meetings right from the get-go.

3 PM: As a physician first and foremost, my focus is always the well-being of people. My colleagues and I work on ways to improve the health and experience of health care for our patients and members. My dad was a country doctor on Cape Cod, and health care has changed since he was in practice, with my mom as his nurse. My parents took care of all patients regardless of their ability to pay—sometimes payment was a dozen eggs or a freshly caught haddock! They taught me that we need to find ways to provide quality health care to everyone, because it’s the right thing to do.


6 AM: In the mornings before work and before the rush of the day, I try to take a breath and take the time to soak in the natural beauty around my home in West Bath. Pausing to enjoy the moment puts it all in perspective—life is short; enjoy every sandwich!

1 PM: I really enjoy it when I have a little time in my day to talk to our employees. I like learning about their work, their interests and families. Some of our best improvement ideas have come from our front-line employees and they’re never shy about sharing their thoughts with me! When I started at Martin’s Point, I knew almost everyone’s name. But it’s more difficult now that we have grown to over 800 employees. I still try to make a personal connection with everyone and to help them understand our strategy and bright future.


11 AM: I constantly remind myself to take time to go out for a walk or visit our on-site gym. It’s so important to stay active, to keep both mind and body in check.

4 PM: Martin’s Point employees are involved in many community organizations, which is something I’m very proud of. It’s not uncommon for me to leave the office a little early to head to local events and show support for the many community agencies and organizations we partner with.


6 AM: I travel often to Washington D.C. to meet with legislators and government agencies. If it’s a travel day, I’m probably on an early flight to DC, getting ready to talk with decision-makers about the issues that affect Martin’s Point patients here in Maine.

9 AM: If I’m in the office, I may be spending time reviewing our key business indicators—Customer, Quality, Financial and People—to gauge progress on our goals and see where we should focus our attention.

7 PM: Woodworking brings me much satisfaction and I always have a few projects in my workshop. Maine boatbuilder Arno Day taught me many years ago about the value of craftsmanship. Every inch of a boat needs to be crafted and aligned, or you might run into trouble out on the water. I’ve learned many lessons about quality and value that are directly applicable to business decisions.


7 AM:  I might be on an early conference call with health care thought leaders, both at Martin’s Point and across the country. Interacting with them is one of the most interesting parts of my job.

1 PM: As I walk around the grounds of the historic Martin’s Point campus speaking with employees, I try to take in my surroundings and remember the legacy of this former Merchant Marine hospital.

6 PM: I like to close out my day with some time at my desk to answer emails, make phone calls and give my team a chance to stop by my office. Most importantly, I make time to read feedback from our patients and members.

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