Becker's 10th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions with Kenneth Altman, Chief of Otolaryngology for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center

Kenneth Altman, MD, PhD, FACS, serves as Chief of Otolaryngology for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center.

On April 1st, Dr. Altman will speak at Becker's Hospital Review 10th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place April 1-4, 2019 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Dr. Altman's session, click here.

Question: What one strategic initiative will demand the most of your time and energy in 2019?

Kenneth Altman: Creating great physician coordination that’s aligned with a strong nursing culture. Most hospitals and health systems are working environments for multiple physician groups, where competition, alliances and different Electronic Health Record platforms are obstacles to a seamless patient journey. Bringing physicians together within service lines, and building inter-professional programs that are focused on the patient are paramount in achieving excellent care and consumer loyalty. Partnering this with a strong nursing culture of excellence creates powerful synergies.

Q: Healthcare takes a lot of heat for not innovating quickly. What's your take on this?

KA: When I reflect on my last 30+ years in healthcare, there has been significant innovation with computers, instruments and therapies. We’re obligated to meet the demands of our regulatory environment, which certainly slows the pace of approving new products. Physicians are responsible for limiting uncertain risks to our patients, slowing adoption of technologies. And the costs of new products can no longer be funded from ever shrinking revenues. But modern business process management, population health, and healthcare consolidation may provide the economies of scale needed to bring back a grass roots agility to fund pilot initiates that can prove their benefit.

Q: Tell us about the last meaningful interaction you had with a patient.

KA: I’m really fortunate to have meaningful interactions with patients and their families every day. One recent patient with a difficult airway and an obstructing throat mass who drove 5 hours for see me for surgery came back for his yearly follow up exam. He told me that no one else would take his case, looked me in the eye and said “You changed my life.” I still feel the tingle up my back.

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