Dr. Uli Chettipally once made the CEO of the company he worked for stop him mid-presentation because he dropped a figure that was so jarring: “50% of what happens in a typical U.S. clinical practice is unnecessary, ineffective, or dangerous.”
This isn’t just Dr. Chettipally’s opinion, it’s a statement backed by much of his own research as well as others’ on the downsides of America’s most common business model of healthcare: the fee-for-service system.
In this episode of the Prosperous Doc, our host Shane Tenny, CFP® welcomes Dr. Uli Chettipally to discuss his research through the CREST Network project, which harnesses the power of data to help physicians make data-backed decisions about treating patients. Once this technology was implemented at Kaiser Permanente, the average length of stay in the emergency department decreased, hospital admissions decreased, and post-discharge testing decreased.
Dr. Chettipally is the Founder and President of InnovatorMD, a platform aimed at inspiring innovation in healthcare. In the episode, Dr. Chettipally also discusses his book, “Punish the Machine,” the clash between insurance carriers and physicians and why it’s important to “follow the money” when trying to implement new technology in the healthcare field.
Name: Dr. Uli Chettipally
What he does: As the Founder and President of InnovatorMD, Dr. Chettipally works to spread innovation from a physician's perspective through the written word, presentation videos, live events and one-on-one consultations. He’s also the Founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs in San Francisco.
Words of wisdom: “Let's make the technology work harder. Let's punish the machines so that the doctors can be helped. Don’t punish the doctor, punish the machine so that patients can be saved and better health outcomes can be achieved through this technology.”
Top takeaways from this episode
★ Healthcare is most effective when providers take full responsibility for the care of the patient in a value-based care model. The American healthcare system is overwhelmingly fee-for-service, meaning that providers are paid according to how much they treat a patient rather than the treatment outcomes. Dr. Chettipally sees value-based care as the answer because “you make money when the patient is healthy, that means that you will figure out ways to keep the patient healthy.”
★ Technology has the potential to help doctors find the sweet spot between under-treating and over-treating patients. Dr. Chettipally and his colleagues on the CREST Network project have successfully developed technology that analyzes patient data to help ensure patients are discharged from the hospital at appropriate times and prescribed the most effective medicines.
★ Physicians are getting burnt out, but technology can help. Healthcare providers are currently running on a treadmill they don’t control, Dr. Chettipally argues, and they don’t feel like they’re making a dent in the broader health landscape. We will always need physicians, he adds, which is why we need to make their jobs more effective by giving them technology that helps them improve care. “You will always need physicians. It's like, you have GPS, but you still drive the car. Even if you have a self-driving car, you still sit at the wheel,” he explains of the changing role of doctors.
[3:44] The business model of healthcare: In the U.S., fee-for-service is common, which is designed for physicians or other providers to prescribe more medicines, do more surgeries, put more people in hospital beds, etc. It is not designed to focus on treatment outcomes.
[5:17] The value-based care difference: Dr. Chettipally explain this model of care in which providers make money when the patient is healthy and how it can help medicine.
[12:16] Unlocking the power of data: Dr. Chettipally’s career changed when he went to work for Kaiser Permanente — this was the beginning of his deep dive into the role of data and artificial intelligence in healthcare.
[14:20] Leveraging data for better care: Dr. Chettipally discusses the development of the CREST Network, a software platform to help physicians use data insights to deliver better patient care outcomes.
[24:00] What’s the future of medicine?: Dr. Chettipally was inspired to write his book, “Punish the Machine,” while working at Kaiser. The book explores the question: “What if we had really high power algorithms, like how Google or Netflix or Apple have, and implemented that in healthcare?”
[32:13] On aligning financial incentives in healthcare: It's the responsibility of the payers to see what they’re getting for their money and to determine if there is a better way of doing it, says Dr. Uli.
[33:20] Harnessing physician innovation: Dr. Chettipally’s career took another turn when he founded his current company, InnovatorMD, which helps to elevate the voice of physicians and their innovations.
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Disclaimer: Prosperous Doc podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentists to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is a comprehensive financial planning firm serving doctors and dentists in Charlotte, NC. To find out more about Spaugh Dameron Tenny, visit our website at www.sdtplanning.com. You can also connect with our host, Shane Tenny, CFP at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.
Compliance code: CRN202211-274480