Balancing the Art, Science, and Business of Medicine

The business of medicine, in particular, has developed a reputation as standing in the way of the actual practice of medicine. Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, a nationally recognized physician leader, healthcare executive, and former business consultant, and president and CEO of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), has written a book in which she emphasizes the need for business as well as art and science in medicine.

In the newly released “Back to Balance: The Art, Science, and Business of Medicine” (Disruption Books), Dr. Fischer-Wright says that “the art (how we care), science (how we treat), and business (how we pay) of medicine have fallen out of balance” and that is a fundamental problem in healthcare today. She further explains that the healthcare industry has lost focus on one very important element in the goal of providing better care for patients and making doctors happy and that is “strong relationships between patients and physicians, informed by smart science and enabled by good business.”

The patient’s well-being, according to Dr. Fischer-Wright, should be first and foremost on the minds of providers as well as healthcare regulators. To that end, providers need to have the time to focus on their patients, “the time needed to carry out the art and science of medicine.” She suggests that one strategy that could provide physicians more time to spend with their patients is making sure that electronic health records (EHRs) are able to talk to each other.

Interoperability between EHR systems is crucial for the patient’s well-being. Physicians who are treating the same patient must have access to that patient’s complete medical profile and, as Dr. Fischer-Wright suggests, it should not be a time-consuming process. Rather, the EHR should be a tool that allows physicians to focus on their patients, while balancing the art, science, and the business of their practice.