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2018 MEDICAL DIRECTORSHIPS AT THE WILLIAM W.

BACKUS HOSPITAL

John Foley, MD.


Chief of Cardiology, the William W. Backus and Windham Community Hospitals
Director of Cardiology, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group

One thing is for certain in life and also true in healthcare: change, physicians and 2 APRNs. In 2014, we offered general cardiology
often unexpected. I finished my cardiology fellowship in 1999 and alone. Since those early days, we have expanded and now provide
moved to Norwich, Connecticut and served as an invasive, non- the following services:
interventional, private practice cardiologist. For several years, in • Both Outpatient and Inpatient Vascular Surgery programs with
addition to my practice in Norwich, I worked part time as a Clinical a fully accredited outpatient vascular lab. We plan to continue
Instructor of Medicine at Yale in the Advanced Heart Failure and significant growth in vascular procedures and surgery in the
Transplant program. I became involved in medical society leadership coming year.
from my early days in CT. I held numerous leadership positions,
including President in both the New London County and the CT • Our Electrophysiology program involves in-office consultation
State Medical Societies. I also served four terms on my town’s with device implantation and follow-up. We are expanding to
Representative Town Meeting. include bi-ventricular devices and in-patient services.
• Working with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center we have
These leadership positions allowed me to work closely with various both pediatric and adult congenital clinics in our Norwich office.
federal and state legislators, including the Governor’s Office, to help This has led to training programs for our echo sonographers,
shape healthcare policy. It was during these days working on the which have in turn improved the proficiency and excellence of
politics of healthcare and my community, that I became interested our diagnostic studies.
in healthcare policy and the system of care delivery. Because of this
I enrolled in the American Association for Physician Leadership’s The Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI) is a vital part of the growth
Certified Physician Executive program and hope to complete the strategy for cardiac and vascular care. The HVI helps to integrate
certification in 2019. the multiple sites and programs throughout the Hartford HealthCare
network into a cohesive system of highly efficient and coordinated
It is estimated that nearly half of our population will have a cardiac care. Our expectation is that regardless of what office or facility a
or vascular problem in the next 20 years. 5-year growth trends show person goes to receive care, the same high standard of quality will
a decline for inpatient cardiac and vascular care with an increase be assured.
for both in the outpatient setting. Hospitals’ traditional focus on
inpatient care, which was driven by the current profitability of The growth of our primary care network is essential. The challenge
traditional fee-for-service programs like cardiology, is out of step is for the system to develop personalized care that meets the
with an emerging focus on value-based healthcare and population needs of the individual, not the healthcare system. One size fits all
health. While technology and scientific advances are vital, it is no longer applies. For instance, we continue to develop our home
wellness and health maintenance that are the ultimate objectives. service and telemedicine programs to expand access and enhance
Our “patients” no longer accept that role of passive consulter. service delivery. Smart phone and online technology has been
Instead, they consider themselves to be consumers of care. Medical primarily limited to making appointments. Patients should also
providers, most notably in primary care fields, are also consumers of be able to track any delays with the provider’s schedule, retrieve
services. In reality, the consumer, whether a “patient” or a provider, results of testing, do virtual follow-up visits, and generate a patient
expects convenient access to care, low cost, high quality, and an satisfaction survey while still in the doctor’s office. Imagine our
exceptional patient experience. Hartford HealthCare maintains office and hospital patients being able to generate, in real time,
these four tenets as drivers to excellence in care delivery. scores for the care they receive. This data would allow us to better
tailor our programs and make rapid change expeditiously rather than
In 2014, I was hired to develop a cardiovascular program in the waiting months for survey data.
Hartford HealthCare East Region. At that time there was a single
cardiology office in Windham, Connecticut with 3 cardiologists.
Today the East Region has grown to 6 offices staffed by 13 Continued on page 8

FALL 2018 7
2018 MEDICAL DIRECTORSHIPS AT THE WILLIAM W. BACKUS HOSPITAL

In October 2018, we will be joined by our new EP physician, Paras While many healthcare systems look to an employment model as
Bhatt MD. This will expand the diagnostic and treatment options the means to integrate providers within the community, Hartford
for arrhythmia at the William W. Backus Hospital. Members of HealthCare continues to embrace a variety of ways to bring
the Hartford Heart Failure and Transplant team have begun seeing independent and private practice providers into the system. I look
patients twice a month in Norwich. Over the next year, as the forward to continuing to foster the relationships between these
volume grows, our hope is to expand access both in our office and independent providers and Hartford HealthCare in the coming years.
at the hospital. Vascular surgery, as mentioned previously, continues As long as access, quality, cost, and excellence are aligned, we can
to increase the number of cases done at Backus, both interventional move forward together.
and surgical.
I have outlined the many changes we envision in the coming years.
We intend to launch a Cardio-Oncology program this year. A It is the work being done behind the scenes on population health
physician working group has been meeting for several months that will identify the metrics leading to chronically ill patients
to brainstorm this project. Through this group both oncologists achieving wellness and health stability. The focus on wellness
and cardiologists learn from each other and partner to develop and population health is a federal mandate guiding the future of
standards of care for oncology patients with cardiovascular issues. healthcare in this country. How we evaluate its success or failure
Backus and Windham Hospital have 3D echocardiography and strain and how to determine compensation to those who provide the care
imaging which will be invaluable in the care of cardio-oncology are technological and economic challenges.
patients.
It is an exciting time to be in healthcare. Change is much more than
We are developing standards of care and standard workflows a buzzword; it’s a way of life. In the end, as long as we maintain our
that will improve the patient and referring provider experience. focus on access, cost, quality, and patient satisfaction we will not
Most importantly, we know that our patients prefer the clinic to go wrong. n
the hospital bed. Infusion centers are a clear example of how one
program can dramatically improve access to care, raise quality,
and lower costs through prevention of admissions. This has been
observed in the infusion clinics now up and running in Windham,
Norwich, and Plainfield.

8 THE OPEN JOURNAL