Geisinger Holy Spirit CMIO Dr. Richard Schreiber on the 3 most dangerous trends in healthcare

Richard Schreiber, MD, is the chief medical informatics officer at Geisinger Holy Spirit in Camp Hill, Pa., associate CMIO at Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger and regional assistant dean and professor of medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Dr. Schreiber, who has spearheaded multiple EHR adoptions during his time at Geisinger, told Becker's Hospital Review that his current priorities include optimizing and continuously upgrading the health system's current EHR, as well as improving physician workflow and finding ways to counteract physician burnout.

The latter two will remain top priorities in the years to come: "As I move toward retirement, I will focus on the physician experience and medical student teaching," he explained.

Here, Dr. Schreiber discusses the healthcare initiative he is most excited about — and the three that he believes pose the biggest danger to healthcare.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What initiative are you most excited about today? How will it affect the future of healthcare delivery? 

Dr. Richard Schreiber: CMS' effort to reduce physician burden gives me a somewhat optimistic outlook, as slowly and incrementally as it is going. There's a very long way to go. Physicians need time to connect with their patients, render care and promote health. Our current burden of documentation, information seeking and catering to the insurers and other non-clinicians inhibits our workflows. Failure to unload onerous tasks will worsen our already suffering healthcare delivery.

Q: What do you see as the most dangerous trend in healthcare today?

RS: The reactionary movement to cut back on healthcare insurance for all, withdrawal of services for the poor — especially with regard to mental health and drug addiction services — and the failure of our current government to curb firearm-related deaths and injuries are dangerous trends in healthcare today. The U.S. ranks 11th in the world for gun-related deaths, but most of the first 10 are generally considered countries with even greater problems with drug trafficking.

I also foresee even greater control being given to insurance companies and businesses which control their own healthcare, leading to even greater increases in cost-shifting to consumers via higher deductibles, unpaid services and onerous prior authorization programs. These also lead to delays in care and inadequate treatment.

In addition, the current chilling climate for immigrants will further diminish access to health services for this group, leading to more use of emergency care, higher costs and increased morbidity and mortality of this vulnerable population.

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