Monthly Archives: January 2012

Training the “Physician Executive”: The Time is Now!

The Time is Now!

Healthcare in the US is in crisis. Many physicians are standing by while the healthcare landscape shifts right in fr0nt of them. Always adept at patient care and focused solely on managing critically ill patients, todays Cardiologists are often ill-prepared for the management of the Medical Business. Most groups (both academic and private practice) are led by physicians over the age of 50. If younger parnters are not suitably trained for leadership, there will be a void of physicians with business management skills and our ablility to practice medicine effectively will certainly suffer. Ultimately, it is the patient that has the most to lose.

What is the Solution?

I belive the answer is the Physician Executive. Today’s physician leaders must not only be exceptional care-givers with supurb clinical skills but be adept at market analysis and spreadsheet interpretation. The days of having an Office Manager take care of all of the non medical concerns of the practice are certainly over. The most successful Physician must now be intimately involved in all business decisions, negotiations with hospitals and insurance providers. Rather than focus on competing with other physicians and physician groups, the Physician Executive must be skilled at compromise–The key to success in negotiations with hospitals, insurers and others is in combining our efforts into a powerful common voice.

What are the risks of the status quo?

At the last ACC meeting in April 2011, it was speculated that within the next 5 years, nearly 90% of all private practices will integrate with hospitals. The private practice model as it has been known for many years will no longer exist and this will certainly have an impact on quality and quantity of care for our patients. Academic centers are not isolated from the “winds of change” either. No two academic centers function alike from a business model perspective. The lack of standardization may result in repeated business related mistakes and no cooperative/unified “voice” to utilize as a lobby for change. As the current leadership continues to age, we must have a generation of Physician leaders to replace them–they must be well equipped to deal with the challenges of rapid change.

Training the Physician Executive

I beleive we have to go to the source of all young Cardiologists–Fellowship. We must begin to include business training within the confines of the Cardiology Fellowship. It should be a component of the ACGME requirements that is just as important as learning how to interpret an Echocardiogram or perform a cardiac catheterization. The training should be practical, yet scientific. The Fellow should be exposed to a combination of didactic lessons provided by MBA school faculty as well as practical rotations through Faculty meetings, board meetings and negotiations with insurance companies and hospitals. The training should expose the Fellow to the challenges of both the academic and private practice economics.

The Time is NOW!

We must take action. Fortunately, some of our leaders are doing just that. Through the development of the Cardiovascular Leadership Institute (CLI), the American College of Cardiology has made the training of Physician Executives a priority going forward. Collaboration with the American College of Physician Executives may yield hybrid training programs where Fellows may also obtain MBA certificates. More importantly, however, Fellows-in-training and newly emerged Cardiologists will have the opportunity to be better prepared for the challenges that medical practice in the next decade will present.

Women and Cardiovascular Disease: Disparities in Care

Women and Cardiovascular Disease: Disparities In Care

Sudden Cardiac Death and cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the US second only to ALL cancers COMBINED.  The prevalence of coronary artery disease in women is similar to that in age-matched cohorts of men– yet women tend to be under-served and under-treated.  When we look at specific interventions such as Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI or coronary stenting) and Implantation of Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICDs), and advanced devices for Congestive Heart Failure, we find that men tend to have more access to advanced therapies and are undergoing procedures at two to three times the rate of women.

Why is this?  Let me offer my two cents:

Typically, married women and women with children in the US today strive to ensure that all other family members are cared for BEFORE considering their own needs.  Women often minimize their own symptoms and risks in order to better care for their families.  Often, women who work outside the home are very busy and try to perform well at work as well as at home as “Mom”.  Diet, exercise and other modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease go unidentified or are just plain ignored.  Time is at a premium and exercise, cooking healthy meals and preventative care doctor visits are often left off the “to-do” list.

Symptoms in Women with undiagnosed cardiovascular disease are often vague and easily dismissed.  Women with CV disease may present differently than men.  Rather than chest pain, shortness of breath and nausea, women may present with anxiety, feelings of dread and other vague, non-specific symptoms.  This can make diagnosis difficult.  Health care providers must be aware of an individual woman’s risk factors for CV disease and interpret the patient’s atypical symptoms within this context.  Often, women over the age of 55 see only OB/GYN physicians for their care and do not have a relationship with an Internist or Family Doctor who may be more equipped to deal with such issues.

So, this is a big issue but what can we do about it?

First, we must all work to empower women to take control of their own CV health.  Whether you are a health care provider, family member, spouse or co-worker, we must educate women about their risk for CV disease and how they can work to modify their own risk.  We must re-double our efforts to actively screen at-risk female patients and remain “tuned-in” to atypical presentations of CV disease.  As a cardiologist, I have partnered with OB/GYN providers and have worked to provide them with the tools they need to efficiently screen and assess risk in their patients during an office visit.   By working with OB/GYN physicians, we are able to identify women with disease who might otherwise go un-noticed and untreated.  As a society, we must continue with education, advocacy efforts and research such as those sponsored by the AHA Go Red For Women campaign next month.  Make sure to wear RED next Friday February 3rd to support the cause!

Dr Kevin Campbell MD: Who I am and What I am about

Comprehensive Mission Statement:

Who Am I?

I am a Cardiologist and Cardiac Electophysiologist committed to the treatment and prevention of sudden cardiac death in the US.  I am particularly interested in providing advanced therapies to the underserved—particularly women and minorities.

I am a Physician Executive and I understand the challenges of practicing medicine in today’s economic environment.  I work to assist physicians-in-training, emerging physicians, and established practices with transition to practice and practice development

What motivates me? (why do I do what I do?)

My wife Deborah and I were blessed with the birth of a daughter, Rebecca, in March 2001.  At age 5 my beautiful Rebecca was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus—this puts her at increased risk for suffering multiple cardiovascular diseases and complications throughout her life.  After my daughter’s diagnosis my life was turned upside down.   I began a crusade to improve cardiovascular health and access to advanced therapies in women in the US.

Physicians and physician practices need the freedom to focus on patient care.  By helping with practice development and practice economics, I can help to train Physician Executives that ultimately improve efficiency and quality of care

My mission

I strive to provide Excellent and Compassionate care to my Patients and Provide Efficient and Timely Service to my Referring Physicians.  Through education of healthcare professionals, patients and industry partners, I hope to raise awareness of CV disease and subsequent risk of sudden cardiac death in women.   I work to ensure that all “under-treated and underserved” patients have the same access to care afforded to the majority.  Through consultation with physicians and careful market analysis of physician practices I strive to improve the delivery of CV care by preparing these groups for the challenges of current medical economics.  I provide the “tools for success” so that the physician can then focus on the patient.

Welcome to Dr. Campbell’s Blog!

Dr Kevin Campbell is an internationally recognized expert in the prevention of sudden cardiac death in women. Dr Campbell provides comprehensive patient and physician education all across the US.