Guest post by Christine Mackey-Ross
This is my third post based on my recent interview with two noted physician executives—John B. Chessare, MD, President and CEO, Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), and S. Rockwell Fredrickson, MD, President and managing director of physician integration of Integris Physicians Services (IPS) in Oklahoma City—about U.S. health care’s move toward Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). In previous posts, I’ve shared the plans their organizations were formulating and their opinions on the skills physicians will need in order to lead in this evolving health care environment.
In this last posting, I’ll pass on what they said about the importance of electronic health records (HER). I asked them whether or not we’ll see one HER system.
Dr. Frederickson summed the situation up well. “The proprietary companies that created these systems have done so with the purpose of becoming proprietary—and not open source—so they can make more money,” he said. “There will be commercial products that act as interface between systems. It’s all a work in progress, and it’s not pretty.”
Dr. Chessare holds out some hope. “My hope is that the technology will be less about the venue and more about pressure in the market to make things friendlier for physicians,” he said. “I’m not sure there is a perfect system. I think the real issue is to get it out there, get it in use, and have a rich dialogue with clinicians about how we are using the new capabilities to integrate care for patients.”
Given the challenges ahead, both doctors are excited about change and progress. “I personally think this is the greatest time to be in health care in the last 30 years,” said Dr. Frederickson. This is a tremendous opportunity for physician executives, and I also think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”