CLINICIAN CORNER: Q & A with Dr. Arlen Meyers
Dr. Arlen Meyers is a physician, multi-time entrepreneur and professor. We talked with him about the role of technology in today’s rapidly changing healthcare landscape.
Q: You believe that our healthcare system reflects American values. How are US values and culture impacting our healthcare?
A: American values—independence, self-sufficiency, suspicion of centralized government, equal access to opportunity, and equality—appear in the American healthcare system with the belief that people should have access to healthcare, but not necessarily have a right to it. Other cultures see healthcare as a right and write it into the country’s constitution. America is capitalistic, which puts the culture of business and the business of medicine at odds. The primary concept of medicine is that the patient interest is always first, for business this may not be true. Compassionate capitalism can bring the two together by harnessing the powers of the capital and competitive marketplace to serve patients.
Q: HIT spending is on the rise. What is driving this and is it helping to improve healthcare outcomes?
A: The enormous rise in IT spending is driven by the promise that integrating technology and medicine will improve quality and access while decreasing cost and inefficiencies. It’s very early in the game; today’s accomplishments are nowhere near the vision of what we can accomplish. To judge now is premature. Let’s see how our enormous investment has paid off in 5 to 10 years.
Q: You talk about refocusing medical systems to be patient-centered. What does this mean?
A: Healthcare today is hospital and physician centered and requires the patient to visit the physician. This is a very expensive, inefficient and sometimes dangerous. A new approach decentralizes care and gives more responsibility to patients to manage their own health in their homes. New mobile health apps will give patients the tools; the bigger task is building the incentives to change behavior.
Q: You have said that 6 of the 12 minutes doctors typically spend with a patient are dedicated to technology use. Can this change?
A: Patients would rather talk to a doctor than to the back of a computer. Following a cumbersome workflow like typing data into a computer impacts the patient experience and is simply unrealistic. We need to balance high tech and high touch by providing a way for physicians to seamlessly enter data into a computer.
Q: How are you supporting the development of innovative healthcare IT products?
A: The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SoPE) is a global biomedical and healthcare innovation network. We create a sandbox in which people can connect and interact and hopefully accomplish great things. And we provide education and resources, as well as celebrate the accomplishments of our members and sponsors. SoPE also works with HealthStartZ, a Colorado-based entrepreneurial eco-system, to help SoPE members develop and launch their healthcare IT ideas into via products.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA, is a professor of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado Denver with adjunct appointments elsewhere. He is the cofounder, President and Chief Medical Officer of medvoy.com, a globally integrated, doctor to doctor referral platform. In addition, Dr. Meyers has created several other medical device companies. He is involved with global bioentrepreneurship education, multiple research and practice initiatives and serves as the founding CEO and President of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SOPE) www.sopenet.org. He is also the Director of the Certificate Program in Bioinnovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado. He is the co-chairman of the First International Bioentrepreneurship Education Summit and Associate Editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology at commercialbiotechnology.com. He is also the Editor In Chief of Medscape Reference Otolaryngology and SOPE Magazine and the coauthor of the Life Science Innovation Roadmap.
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