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Why Doctors Helping Doctors?

Why Doctors Helping Doctors?

I Don’t Have Time for This…

I know this is probably what you’re thinking, especially if you are a practicing physician, the very sort of person we hope will find the site interesting and useful.  I know this because I don’t have time for this either, nor do the other physician founders of Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health—Dr. Bill Bria and Dr. Mike Zaroukian. And yet, we have made the time and will continue to do so.   Why do we hope you will make the time too?  Because we believe it will be time well spent.

First, let me clarify what we are up to…..

Doctors Helping Doctors Was Formed to Add a Physician Voice and Perspective

As early adopters, EHR implementers, and practicing physicians, we have seen the “bad and the ugly” as well as the promise of health IT.  We understand how health IT can and should be used to make care better, safer, and more value-laden.  As such, we believe that unnecessarily harsh criticism of Meaningful Use—which we have heard from some quarters—and uncritical cheerleading—which we have also heard—are equally unhelpful.

We see physician “extremism” essentially marginalizing what is needed now more than ever—a clear and constructive physician voice, articulating not for compliance with Meaningful Use, but rather leveraging the opportunity that Meaningful Use presents, and consistently inserting the highest ideals that led us all to choose a career in medicine.

Doctors Helping Doctors is Not Just About Meaningful Use

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has the definitive website about Meaningful Use (https://www.cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms/).  This is and remains the “go-to” site for information about regulations and FAQs, as well as links to registration and attestation.  The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) also has a great deal of information to support Meaningful Use. Many professional and specialty organization websites contain great content about Meaningful Use, much of which is tailored to doctors within a particular specialty.   For official pronouncements and specialty specific information, please continue to use these references.

No Shortage of Commentary about Meaningful Use

It is also true that there is no shortage of physician commentary about Meaningful Use.  And because Meaningful Use is a federal program (and thus requires very detailed rules for obtaining incentives and avoiding penalties), physician commentary is often focused on very specific details of regulatory compliance.  While we acknowledge that that level of comment is necessary and appropriate (and in fact, the three of us first worked together on this issue producing such detailed commentary), it is often perceived as entirely negative.  Conversely, we have all seen commentary that is so naïve and glowingly positive, that it has no credibility to physicians who seek realistic guidance.

Our Stories – in Blogs and Media

We believe that the most expedient way to bring a clear and constructive physician voice and perspective to you is via this site.  We will tell our stories, and share those from colleagues with similar and other experiences.  Our hope is that these will stimulate thinking and perhaps even response.

And We Mean No Offense to Our Non-Physician Colleagues or to Others

All of us work in settings where valuable members of the healthcare team include providers other than physicians.  We also recognize and fully appreciate the critical role that people other than healthcare providers play in healthcare transformation.  That said, we believe that because of our background and expertise, we have the ability to be most relevant to our physician colleagues.

A Few Words About Our Supporters

It takes resources to create and maintain this site, to make the work of Doctors Helping Doctors possible.  We have solicited unrestricted contributions from individuals and organizations who believe in our mission and are able to support its work.  In particular, we wish to thank  Patrick Soon-Shiong of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, John Glaser of Siemens Health Services; and Andy Slavitt of Optum’s  Institute for Sustainable Health.

Docs – We Know This Is Not Easy

To our colleagues…  We all started as EHR novices, and through our collective four decades of experience have probably made every mistake that anyone could make (and more than once).  We hope that you will regularly visit this site to see and hear stories from your colleagues, and perhaps share some of your own.

Our goal is to help you see the transformative power that health IT can have in your work and in the quality of the care you provide, and to help answer questions or concerns you may have as you think about using this powerful tool in your practice.

It’s All About Our Patients

We know your time is a precious commodity. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither can healthcare be transformed overnight—but the time we all spend pursuing this goal together will be time very well spent. It will make our work lives easier and more fulfilling, but more importantly, it will help our patients because we will deliver better care.

And isn’t that really why we’re all physicians in the first place?

About Peter Basch, MD

Medical Director, Ambulatory EHR and Health Information Technology Policy
MedStar Health

Washington, DC

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