Partners for better healthcare through innovative use of IT

imageAs my plane touched down at LAX last Friday a sense of Déjà vu rushed over me. I must have made that trip from Seattle to Los Angeles nearly five hundred times over my lifetime. Most of those round trips occurred during the decade that I hosted Physician’s Journal Update on Lifetime (Hearst, Viacom, ABC). We taped our weekly programs at a studio within the KCET public broadcasting complex. For a young physician, hosting that program was like getting spoon-fed CME every week.

imageIt was medicine once again that brought me on this trip to LA. I was slated to provide the opening keynote at the 2013 Healthcare Partners Medical Group annual conference being held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA. The evening before my keynote I was treated to dinner by two mid-career physicians on the medical staff at Healthcare Partners. Brett and Ella were both family physicians. Like me, they shared a penchant for information technology. Brett left practice almost immediately upon finishing his residency. Ella was still practicing about half time. We enjoyed an evening of great conversation and fine Latin American cuisine at a restaurant called Riviera. I can highly recommend it if you ever find yourself looking for a meal in downtown LA.

I learned from Brett and Ella that Healthcare Partners uses Allscripts as their core EMR. This positions the organization very well to received maximum value from some of our Microsoft and partner solutions. Allscripts is built entirely on the Microsoft platform. Brett told me about some of the decision support, business intelligence and collaboration solutions Healthcare Partners is developing for their far-reaching services across California and three other states where they operate. The group, recently acquired by DaVita, functions as capitated system. That means like Kaiser or similar models, Healthcare Partners is both a provider and payer. Such models lend themselves ideally to the provision of e-Health services to their members and are well situated to embrace this new era of accountable care.

WP_20131005_005Hopefully my keynote resonated with the nearly 900 clinicians, administrators and other staff who attended the Healthcare Partners conference on Saturday. During the event, outgoing Healthcare Partners CEO, Dr. Bob Margolis, said goodbye and welcomed his recently announced replacement, Dr. Craig Samitt, formerly the president and CEO of Dean Health Systems in Madison, Wisconsin, one of the largest integrated healthcare providers in the Midwest.

I predict a rosy future for this highly regarded medical group. As other healthcare imageorganizations struggle to reinvent the way they operate under the new mandates of health reform, Healthcare Partners can pretty much focus on patient care innovations that will drive even greater efficiencies into their operations while improving care quality and access.

I’m writing this early on Monday from yet another flight. This day I’m winging my way to Puerto Rico with an overnight layover in Orlando. On Thursday I’ll deliver yet another keynote at an annual conference organized by the Puerto Rico Hospital Association. This is my second visit to the region in as many years. I guess they liked what I had to say last year because they invited back for a repeat performance. I’ll also be holding some meetings with government officials, customers and partners during my short stay in Puerto Rico. At least I’m escaping the start of the rainy season in Seattle. And yes, I packed plenty of sun screen.

Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft

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