This is not your fathers or mothers AMA – the AMA’s Moonshot Moment – with Barbara McAneny MD, President-elect of the American Medical Association

If you have not been following the great leap forward that the American Medical Association (AMA) has made over the past 5 years, then you’ve been missing out on something quite spectacular.  It’s phenomenal, and phenomenally told to us by the President-elect of the AMA, Dr Barbara McAneny.

What you’ll discover in this interview is that the current AMA is not your father’s or mother’s AMA.  This is a bold organization that is attempting to launch the profession into the future. The breathtaking strategic initiatives and dramatic progress you’ll hear about may represent the largest inflection in the AMA’s history since the Flexner Report transformation over a century ago.  And, Dr. McAneny is, in her own right, an impressive & inspiring example of leadership. She has distinguished herself many times over as a community-based oncologist, as well as a leader on the national healthcare scene.

Here are a just a few snippets of the many forward thinking trajectories that you’ll hear Dr. McAneny expound upon in this interview:

  • People want health and are not necessarily interested in healthcare, so the AMA has been focusing on improving health outcomes through the creation of their “innovation ecosystem” network.
  • Patient outcomes are affected as much by their zip code as by the quality of the healthcare we offer; so it’s critically important to understand, measure and intervene on the social determinants of health.
  • Medical care is no longer just an individual clinical endeavour, and will require highly collaborative partnering which combines medical science with digital technology, health economics, analytics and an understanding of patient behavior and socioeconomic factors…

In this episode, Dr. McAnaney will also describe three major strategic arcs the AMA is focused on:

First – the AMA’s (moonshot) “innovation ecosystem” network – a broad expanse of initiatives and highly progressive partnerships the AMA has engaged in to radically improve healthcare and health outcomes.  It’s astounding to hear the sheer number of highly collaborative partnerships the AMA has formed with start-ups, accelerators, venture capitalists, tech developers & other organizations – in order to bring the physician sensibility to the development of new health technologies & digital technologies.  The AMA has begun to act like an innovation convener – proactively partnering with companies such as IBM Watson, GE, Intel, the Scripps Institute, Partners Center for Connected Health, Intermountain Healthcare and Omada Health.

Second – the AMA’s strategy to transform medical education by creating “the medical school of the future”.   In this initiative – the ‘Accelerating Change in Medical Education’ Consortium – they’ve funded medical schools to create forward-facing curriculum and training programs.  The goal is to create the ‘physician of the future’ – not only knowledgeable in the science & art of medicine, but also steeped in the science & art of management, leadership and systems thinking.  At present there are over 30 medical schools involved, collectively representing a quarter of all medical students in this country.

Third – the AMA’s focus on physician burnout and sustainability.  Approximately 50% of physicians are burnt out according to numerous studies; and physicians daily spend over an hour on burdensome administrative work for every hour of direct patient contact.  Dr. McAnaney emphasizes that it’s hugely wasteful and demoralizing to have the most highly trained and costly human resource in healthcare function as data clerks for hours each day. Of note and underscoring this point, HHS Secretary Alex Azar recently stated, “Its the patients who suffers when a provider spends more time reporting quality measures than delivering quality care”. Dr. McAneny compellingly advocates for the removal of these and other stressors, as a way to reduce physician burnout and improve healthcare.  

I came away from this interview with a renewed appreciation and admiration for the AMA and its mission; and with a profound respect and gratitude for the vision, integrity and selfless commitment that Dr. McAneny has manifested throughout her career.

Dr. McAneny shares numerous pearls of wisdom throughout the interview – transformational inflections that you’ll want to listen to – likely, more than once.

As always, I hope you get as much out of this as I have!