AAPL Summit Closes with Eye Toward Future Issues

By Andy Smith | AAPL
May 5, 2019

The three-day gathering concludes with the association board discussing patient-centered care, the challenges it brings physicians leaders and the growing role of technology.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Association for Physician Leadership’s 2019 Spring Summit ended Sunday with a look toward the future of health care and what physician leaders should be thinking about going forwarding


  • When: Oct. 23-30, 2019.
  • Where: Westin Kierland Resort and Spa; Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Information: Click here.

Much of that discussion centered on patient care, and, with AAPL president and CEO Peter Angood, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, MCCM, citing the difficulties in trying to manage the processes and complexities of health care systems.

“If you think about it critically, I feel that true patient-centered care in this day and age is very disruptive for us,” he said.

“The patient-physician relationship is still the pivotal point in all this, but it’s also why this organization has diversified its approaches to create the change that’s needed – and to do that together.”

SUMMIT DAY 2: Surprise for CEO and Big Plans for Future

During a panel discussion that closed the three-day Summit at the J.W. Marriott Washington, D.C., the association's board of directors weighed in on the challenges facing physician leaders:

Lisa Laurent, MD, MBA, MS, CPE, FAAPL: “We must make a very concerted, purposeful and mindful effort to be flexible in the way we think and the way that we create the schedules for the people who we lead. We understand that there is an amalgam of elements associated with someone’s personal life, social life and work life – and (if) we are receptive to that and create an environment that nurtures and supports and promotes those individual’s success, the return on investment is exponential.”

Tom Higgins, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAPL: “We’ve all seen patients who show up in the emergency room with a phone call to their PCP, and patients who never show up in the health care setting because of economic or other considerations or behavioral health considerations. We need a better way of getting people to where they can get the care delivered in the most value-added settings. I think artificial intelligence will help us with that.

“Most of us do not do enough advocacy at the state and federal level for changes in how health care is delivered and funded. We need to be training physicians at all levels, beginning in medical school, to do that advocacy and to be part of a team that argues for what our patients need. We’re left behind in the dust, frankly, in some of these things.”

Laura Clapper, MD, MPPA, CPE, FAAPL: “As we think about population health and taking care of the community, how do we get involved in the regulations, the legislation and areas like that to really help our community be healthier? And then take the broader view of not just who comes into the office but who’s not coming in.

SUMMIT DAY 1: A Time for ‘Courage’ in Leadership

“And coming back to physician leadership, how do we create the kind of community at this conference – the community of physician leaders? I think it’s both taking care of our community, creating community for our physicians who we work with and serve, and how do we create a community of physician leaders that’s ongoing – that’s not just at the annual meeting?”

Byron Scott, MD, MBA, CPE, FACEP, FAAPL, vice chair of the board: “It’s really about continuous learning because you can always improve self and organization, so you have a responsibility in the future to making sure you stay current with what’s going on because new competencies will come up. Physician burnout is a hot button [topic] in the past couple of years, but we weren’t talking about it a few years ago. There will something else [in the future] that as physician leaders we need to learn.

“Physician leaders are going to have to be really savvy to understand health care technology because there is going to be a lot of development from different organizations and they’re going to be coming to you and offering to sell something to you, and you’re going to have to be very knowledgeable to figure out, ‘Do I need this?’ Because it’s going to be expensive. And so, as a leader you’re going to have to understand data and analytics and AI and figure out if it’s something you need.”

Collaboration of Docs and Big Data

The big question about Big Data’s place in health care is who makes the decisions? Physicians or computers? Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson, suggested both play a role, but physicians get the final say.

kyu rhee

Dr. Kyu Rhee, vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson, says both doctors and machines play a role in patient care, but physicians get the final say. | AAPL

“We are now in the artificial intelligence era, and there is a huge opportunity for us to make sure that this is not technology that is done to us and/or our patients but with us and for us,” he said Sunday morning during his special session presentation, “Is IBM Watson Leading to Where We Need to Go?”

Rhee explained that AI benefits physicians and the decision-making process by providing virtually instant information about patients, their condition and history, analytics and other supporting material.

“You may have a way to leverage that data in ways you never considered,” he said.

“We’ve demonstrated man vs. machine,” he continued, “but ultimately the value proposition is not about either/or [machines or humans]; it’s about plus. It’s about how humans plus machines could hopefully deliver better value than just the way we’ve been doing it as humans alone.”

Andy Smith is a staff writer for the American Association for Physician Leadership.


AAPL Fall-Winter Virtual Launch Announcement
Compassion, Respect, Equality and Justice for All