Achieving Better Healthcare

Robert Pearl MD, Executive Director and Chairman of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP), former CEO for The Permanente Medical Group, and former CEO for the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, presented his unique perspective on the business of healthcare and the culture of medicine at the recent 9th Annual mHealth +Telehealth World meeting

His book titled “Mistreated: Why We Think We’re Getting Good Health Care-And Why We’re Usually Wrong” stresses how the American people assume the best care is dependent mainly on the newest medications and the most complex treatments. In his case, he lost his own farther due in part to poor communication and treatment planning by doctors.

First, he told the conference attendees, “The American care system is fragmented and broken. We demand modern IT in other areas of life but in practicing medicine today, we use old and outdated technology. As his book points out, “We need to apply structure, provide updated technology, provide financing, and leadership if we want to upgrade the American healthcare system and if we do, we will radically improve outcomes.”

He said, “Technology is needed to fix the problem but technology alone can’t succeed unless we change the delivery system. The only way this will be achieved is to start by dealing with a specific problem to be solved and at that point, embrace the technology needed to meet that need.”

Just on the topic of EHRs alone, the medical profession uses EHRs for their individual practices but comprehensive EHRs connected to other practices or in many cases to hospitals is not always the usual case in the U.S. Doctors can’t work effectively if the most current information isn’t available to them 24/7.

For example, the medical community does a poor job of incorporating information into an EHR with patients suspected of having sepsis. Sepsis could be more effectively treated but to do this, more patients need to be tested sooner.

This is not simply possible today because doctors very often do not have all their patient’s medical records plus complete information on hand which often results in doctors simply not realizing that their patient needs to be tested for sepsis. The requirement to test for sepsis should be required if there is a chance that the patient has sepsis which should be made clear in the EHR.

Just having more medical professionals use current video technology to visit patients living at a distance from their doctors would enable doctors to see more patients in a day. It is also important to have patients use effective monitoring devices as this not only helps patients but also helps doctors save time and produce better outcomes.

As Dr. Pearl looks into the future, the medical community will be using data analytics more and more. Computers will be able to continually analyze patients’ medical records and care, and then automatically incorporate this information into a comprehensive and integrated EHR.

Go to or to contact Dr. Pearl.  For further information on Dr. Pearl’s new book, go to or go to or to

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