Piedmont CEO: Healthcare industry needs to be more ‘patient-centric’

ATLANTA — The healthcare industry in 2015 needs to be more patient-centric in how they deliver services to patients, the head of a Buckhead-based healthcare system told a civic organization on Thursday.

“The industry needs to be much more patient-centric,” Kevin Brown, president and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare, said during an appearance before the Buckhead Business Association (BBA).

“We’re focusing really hard on patient-centered care and trying to rethink about how do we organize our services around the patient vs. the other way around, which is really how a lot of health care is organized,” Brown added. “As patients come to us, how do we make sure we’re bringing services to the patient vs. having to have the patient go to different places for things.”

In his remarks to more than 50 people at the City Club of Buckhead, Brown said Piedmont is “working hard to reduce the cost of care.” Eighteen months ago, for example, the hospital launched an initiative to reduce expenses and improve efficiency, which has yielded a $150 million savings.

“We think it’s too expensive, we think it costs too much, we don’t think it’s sustainable,” Brown said of healthcare costs.

At the same time, Brown acknowledged access to healthcare is too difficult. As a result, Piedmont expanded into urgent last year and is poised to “aggressively” expand its presence in that arena, Brown said.

“We could have 30 percent more primary care physicians and still it would be difficult for you to get in to see them,” Brown said. “As a result of that, our emergency rooms are just jammed, and there’s people using our emergency rooms that should be in primary care offices or urgent care offices. It’s a really expensive way to deliver healthcare.”

In addition, Brown told BBA members patients’ electronic healthcare records (EHR) will eventually be better connected — much like credit card networks. That will allow patients to access records across hospitals and medical networks.

“Eventually, it’ll be all connected,” Brown said. “And, it won’t matter whose records you’re on. You’ll be able to access it virtually anywhere as the industry gets together and gets it all connected.”

For more information, visit www.buckheadbusiness.org.

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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits The Travel Trolley and Railfanning.org.