“We’ve brought these 3 boutique health care organizations together…”: Top Leadership Teams Event, Chicago, Ill

Darrel Kirch - shift in MDs

Darrel Kirch, MD, talks about physician supply in Chicago

This was the phrase that Jim Molpus, Editor-in-Chief of HealthLeaders Media used in jest to introduce a panel I was on along with Jay Srini, Chief Innovation Officer of UPMC Insurance Services, and Jeffrey Balser, MD, Ph.D., who was just named Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The “boutique” I was representing was a combination of my previous employer, Group Health Permanente, and my current employer, The Permanente Federation.

I suppose beyond the common interests we have in technology, the three of us are also settling in to new positions. From my perspective, it is a whole different level of scope to be in a room and thought of as “Kaiser Permanente” with all of the innovation and work that happens across this system. I have a lot more learning to do. At the same time, I was impressed that not everyone knows (yet) how much access patients have to their own health information via organizations like ours (Vanderbilt and UPMC have patient portals as well). I am always happy to deliver the message of how useful this access is to patients in a group like this.

Speaking of innovation, I enjoyed the time with both panelists. Vanderbilt has been doing impressive work in creating an anonymous DNA databank and specifically, the way they are doing it, involving patients and the community is part of the impressiveness. Jeff showed a video of how this might work with patients, and the video presented vignettes of patients having access to the data and managing it with their personal physician, rather than labs and test tubes. Great job.

I recognized Jay right when I walked in the room, from her energy level and enthusiasm, and her background is really interesting – spanning industries including banking, manufacturing, and health care. I always like meeting people who apply lessons from one industry to another, and UPMC has always been known (in my mind) as a star in the innovation and patient-centered world.

I am happy to say that the thing that all of the best organizations had in common this day was participation – involving patients and their communities in their care. . The other thing that the organizations represented had in common was their concern for, and passion around supporting primary care.

We were treated to a talk about the future of physician supply by Darrel Kirch, MD, President and CEO of the American Association of Medical Colleges. I was glad to see Darrel touch on this and relay the understanding that the AAMC is aware of this situation and are working on it. I hope the organization can help.

Ted Eytan, MD