The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at HoustonThe University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
July 30, 2010 | from the Office of Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Distributed every other Friday via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback via e-mail or comments.

Lately I’ve found myself involved in discussions related to the concept of group practice. The Mayo brothers are often credited with bringing this idea first to medicine in the United States in the late 1800s. By creating a system of multidisciplinary teams interdependent upon each other, they found they were better able to serve patients and improve health.

UT Physicians is an incredibly large group practice. With over 1,000 practicing physicians, we have dozens of clinical and support offices in the Texas Medical Center and throughout the greater Houston area all maintained by dedicated staff. From those who schedule appointments to those who service the network of technology that support our infrastructure, everyone is working with one thought in mind – the patient.

I want to thank the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System for inviting me to a recent presentation at its headquarters on Accountable Care Organizations, where I heard Ford Koles, executive director for the Advisory Board Company of Washington, D.C., address this “new” concept. Looking ahead to a new landscape of health care, this trend focuses on thinking beyond the “fee-for-service” model. In order to be prepared for an increase in the number of insured, we must carefully plan for the delivery of quality service and a payment structure that fits. It will require physicians and hospitals working together to create shared savings models, driving this change to quality and decreased cost. The future of health care delivery will require focus on preventive measures and ensuring practice is driven by evidence-based medicine to reduce costs.

Physician integration and clinical standardization is what will shape the health care reform of tomorrow. To this end, UT Physicians has a unique opportunity to create a model that will change health care for the better, and we will then translate that into the education of our future physicians to mandate this difference.

I have seen firsthand how a successful UT Physicians team is built from the ground up. Dr. Farzaneh Banki joined the Medical School’s Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery following a fellowship at the University of Washington in 2007 and since her arrival has been intent on building the best esophageal practice in the region. And she is doing just that. By taking the time to introduce herself to referring physicians in the area, making herself available to patients, driving the best experience possible, and delivering exceptional clinical outcomes for the most difficult cases, she is fulfilling her goal.

I also have seen how large teams can come together and make incredible strides. During a recent review of the adult kidney transplant program at Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center, I was so impressed with the individuals who showed dedication, experience, collegiality, and desire to improve. This situation showed how “old problems” can be tackled and resolved almost overnight – teamwork at its best.

Key to our group practice’s success is communication. Our bimonthly chair meetings allow for leaders to communicate, share knowledge, and make changes.  The improvement of our group practice is dependent upon the chairs’ relationships with each other. Our clinical practice board meets quarterly to hear updates from the various committees tasked with making changes and improvements to UT Physicians.

Constant communication is part of our corporate culture, which is focused on delivering excellent customer service and care. Regardless of our role, we are all here to serve, and to serve compassionately and humbly. As a group practice we also must be driven to innovate and embrace change that will improve our viability and our patients’ health.

We may not be perfect in all aspects of our group practice, but everyone involved in patient care – directly or indirectly – must understand our goal – improving our patients’ health. Our service is driven by our patients’ needs. Having a patient wait for hours only to be seen by a physician for 4 minutes is not representing the values of our group practice. I want our clinical practice to be a place where you are proud to refer a loved one. UT Physicians must be known not only for the quality patient care but also for excellent customer service. Is this happening? I would like to know your feedback regarding UT Physicians.

As Dr. Martin Citardi recently told me, there are a few things we do not do well, but we do plenty of things very well, yet we must work hard to improve our deficiencies. We can only change what we are aware of – that is why your input is so valuable. A new patient survey has begun, and we hope to soon have standardized data in addition to your anecdotal evidence.

As a part of the Medical School, you are a part of the group practice, and we all have a responsibility for its success.

Have a great weekend,


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