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April 2015
In this Issue
  • Introducing ISMS President Scott A. Cooper, MD

  • ISMS President
    Scott A. Cooper, MD


    I’m Dr. Scott Cooper, a practicing emergency physician at Vista Hospital in Waukegan.

    It’s a sincere honor to serve as your ISMS president during the year we celebrate the Society’s 175th anniversary. It’s an honor because I appreciate just how important ISMS really is to physicians and our patients.

    Here at ISMS, we can make a difference. Here at ISMS, we have a voice. Here at ISMS, if we work together, our combined voices are a powerful force in Illinois.

    Last year I experienced the power of ISMS’ voice first hand. I was discussing the opioid abuse issue with one of our lobbyists, and I referenced the dilemma we face prescribing medications. Doctors are “rated” by patients in terms of the service we provide. If a patient seeking narcotics or a patient seeking antibiotics for a viral infection leaves empty handed, he or she will likely be a dissatisfied customer. And that person has the power to rate us accordingly when given the opportunity.

    A similar sentiment was echoed by another physician during the ISMS Council on Medical Services meeting. Our lobbyist shared this perspective with legislators and the task force members looking at this issue. Our voice was heard! This sharing of perspective is replicated many times over on a multitude of issues.

    Here’s another example. Because of the fierce advocacy of ISMS, we have successfully communicated the need for CPT codes for advance care planning discussions. This initiative came to being from a request from the members of the DuPage County Medical Society.

    As ISMS president, I’ll be traveling the state to listen and learn about your issues. I want to engage our members and urge them to become more active participants in ISMS.

    I also want to engage you in a couple of my professional areas of interest that impact our interactions with patients.  These areas include the emerging physician measurement models for patient care, and how EHR use is changing our relationship with patients.

    Measurement when done constructively, and not in a threatening or punitive way, can be an important resource for us to use in assessing patient outcomes. However, I believe we should take a close look at the value of measurement, what is being measured, and the validity of the data collected.

    Not too long ago, an essay entitled, “Doctor, Shut Up and Listen,” appeared in the New York Times. The point of the essay is that we don’t spend enough time discussing and listening to our patients concerns. Ironically, a physician friend of mine told me that she had been “dinged” by her hospital for spending too much time with her patients.

    We need to strive for balance and measures that make sense and do not deliver mixed messages to physicians who are trying to do what is best for their patients.

    On a similar front, we should take a critical look at how patient care is impacted with widespread EHR adoption.

    The medical chart is a tool physicians rely on to track care and communicate. A physician recently told me he longs for the paper chart, a concise tool for the health care team to share patient information and clinical assessments. Review of systems and past medical history should be data collected when relevant to patient care, not for “over-documenting” to maximize billing.

    Is the data we enter into an EHR system necessary to record the medical care of our patient? Or are we really serving the gods of billing and data collection as we click through the ninth and tenth dropdown menus? The federal government wanted meaningful use, but isn’t much of this meaningful billing?

    I want to hear your feedback on how EHR use has affected your practice. I’m seeking your views on both the good and bad. If you are experiencing an issue, it is likely someone else is experiencing the same issue. If ISMS hears from enough members on a particular issue, we are in the position to leverage the collective voice of ISMS to shine a spotlight on the concern. Please share your concerns with the ISMS health policy department at hpresearch@isms.org.

    ISMS can advocate for a medical record that is an efficient communication tool that increases physician productivity.

    As I begin my journey as president, I look forward to the road ahead and engaging ISMS members. I can be reached at DrCooper@isms.org and look forward to hearing from you.

    This column is an excerpt from Dr. Cooper’s inaugural speech. Click here to view the full speech.

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