The executive director of the Permanente Foundation argues that physicians are the key to creating a health care system that is patient-centered, safe, equitable, accessible and affordable.
With the assistance of former Boston Globe journalist Kenney (Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience, 2010), Cochran draws on his years as president and chairman of the board of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Colorado, where he developed and tested many of the ideas presented here. When he took over, the morale among physicians was low, and turnover was high; the group was losing members. Working with a team—he had not been a manager before and was learning on the job—Cochran set specific priorities for the group: preserving and enhancing physicians’ careers, optimizing the patient care experience and streamlining the care process. In detailing the obstacles and solutions, he makes clear that building a culture of collegiality and teamwork was essential. Nurses and clinical pharmacists were brought into partnerships with physicians, giving them greater responsibilities and career opportunities and freeing physicians to do the kind of work that only they could do. The author is especially proud of the methods he developed to rapidly set up a massive electronic health record system that increased the efficiency of patient care. Cochran calls on doctors, who have been trained to be healers, to expand their mission and take on a combination role of healer/leader/partner, and he insists that health care be a “learning industry.” Talented people from all disciplines—clinicians, researchers, the pharmaceutical industry, etc.—must work together and learn from each other to seek out the best practices and apply them to provide the best patient care.
While the book gives outsiders a peek into the inner workings of a large medical group, its message is directed primarily at members of the medical profession, more specifically, to those in management positions.