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Friday August 17, 2018
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November 2016 - Volume 13 - Issue 5

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American Medical Association to Participate in the University of Miami’s Annual Business of Health Care Conference

One of the highlights at The Business of Health Care Post-Election Conference hosted by the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy at the University of Miami School of Business on Friday, March 3, 2017, will be a panel discussion with the heads of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

With the presidential election coming up in November, James L. Madara, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO of the AMA expects a significant amount of change. As a result, he says it’s a good conference to have the stakeholders come together to talk about the change that will be occurring.
 
“It’s important to have the kind of discussions expected at the conference because of the significance of healthcare to the U.S. economy,” he says. “Healthcare itself is almost 20 percent of our GDP - about three trillion dollars a year and is a very complex public private exercise undergoing enormous change at an incredibly rapid pace.”
 
The AMA wanted to be involved in the conference this year for two reasons, stresses Dr. Madara.
 
“The first is that all the stakeholders have to be involved if this is to be a functional system which it's not currently,” he explains. “We have highly fragmented healthcare in the United States and so to have the hospitals and organizations such as the MGMA and AMA all be part of this conversation is very important.”
 
The second reason for AMA’s involvement, according to Dr. Madara, is that in the past physicians may have missed some opportunities to help shape the future.
 
“We've done a series of collaborative studies with management consulting firm Rand Health, for example, in multiple markets looking at the state of the practicing physician,” he says. “What we've learned from the study with Rand was that the primary driver for physician satisfaction with their practice is the amount of time they have with patients.”
 
Then in a second study done in collaboration with Dartmouth, Dr. Madara notes that they learned that physicians only spend three percent of their time with patients currently and 50 percent of their time is spent on data entry in computerized systems which is not really why they went into this field.
 
“To be part and have a voice in the shaping of the changes that come is important for the AMA because physicians are uniquely positioned to understand the granular needs around patients and we're shifting to a patient-centric health care view which elevates the need for the physician's voice,” he says.
 
The panel discussion among the leaders of the American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Medical Group Management Association, and AMA would likely be geared toward identifying gaps and failed handoffs in the current system and the problems that need to be addressed as healthcare policy is modified over the next few years.
 
Dr. Madara says that it can’t be overstated how big of an impact his members have felt as the result of the changes in healthcare in recent years.
 
“Physicians are now the most expensive data entry workforce on the face of the planet when what they really want to be doing is spending time with patients,” he says. “This has led to physician burnout. Work done collaboratively between the AMA and the Mayo Clinic identified the burnout rates approaching 50 percent across physician practices. We need to stay on the track of having digital health care electronic records solutions but we need to modify them so this incredibly important part of the health care system doesn’t prevent physicians from spending their time doing what patients want them to do and what they want to do and that is to spend time with patients.”
 
Regardless of who wins the presidential election and who assumes control of Congress, Dr. Madara says that there's going to continue to be rapid change in healthcare delivery.
 
“As a non-partisan organization, we’ve always worked with Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan way,” he says. “Our focus is the core principles that drive us and those core principles at the top are promoting art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.”
 
Related to that is the access that patients have and the need for continuity of care, he adds. “In the last half century we've moved from episodic disease burden to chronic disease burden. The CDC estimates that over 80 percent of that 3 trillion dollars is spent toward chronic disease. If a disease is chronic, the handoffs, the continuity of care, and the flow of information related to a patient over time has to be greatly improved. All of these things are important changes and all need vast improvement from their current state.”

For more information, visit www.bus.miami.edu/healthcare2017.

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