Healthcare Business News
Dr. Robert Juhasz, American Osteopathic Association president

Osteopathic group leader calls for more research, IT innovation

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: July 28, 2014 - 1:45 pm ET

Dr. Robert Juhasz recently began his term as the 118th president of the American Osteopathic Association by issuing a challenge to the AOA House of Delegates to dramatically improve and increase their output of osteopathic research.

Juhasz, calling research a key pillar of the AOA strategic plan, vowed to jump-start the effort by forming a task force to develop ways to fund and implement a research infrastructure with the goal of producing significant scholarly reports every month.

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“The best awareness campaign that we can have is through well-published research,” he said. “We must demonstrate the difference our practice makes, so that we will have the tools to share our message with our medical colleagues, policymakers, and all who seek better care of patients through our healing influence.”

Along with the need for more research, particularly comparative effectiveness studies, Juhasz said the effort to move responsibility for osteopathic graduate medical education accreditation from the AOA to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will help maintain osteopathic medicine as a vital field.

Without these initiatives, he said osteopathic physicians are at risk to be “carried away into obscurity as a quaint, anachronistic system of care.”

Juhasz, second from left.
Juhasz, second from left.
Photo credit: Reprinted with permission, Cleveland Clinic Center for Medical Art & Photography 2005-2014. All Rights Reserved.
“We are D.O.s, we use the skill of touch to diagnose and to treat,” Juhasz declared. “We know that the body has an amazing ability to heal and regulate itself given the proper nutrition and exercise.”

Juhasz, 58, was named president of Cleveland Clinic's 173-bed South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, last year. The institution was known as Brentwood Hospital when Juhasz first worked there as a 16-year-old dishwasher.

Though it was just an after-school job, it played a pivotal role in shaping his adult career.

“I saw how the D.O.s treated their patients and I saw how all of the staff treated each other as family,” Juhasz said.

Juhasz said in an interview that, as AOA president, he would continue to advocate for expanding graduate medical education and increasing the number of residency positions.

Promoting quality improvement will also be one of his key goals.

“If we lead with quality, we'll decrease costs,” he said, adding that using health information technology and data analytics was one way to do this.

“Like all organizations, we're data-hungry,” said Juhasz, an early adopter of health information technology.

Using an EHR's data-aggregation tools will be an important part of efforts to manage population health, he said, “but we don't take care of numbers, we take care of people.”

More has to be done to lessen a physician's data-entry burden, Juhasz said. He envisions a future system where pertinent patient information could be automatically entered during an exam conversation without the physician or an assistant typing it in.

“It's going to continue to evolve,” he said, noting that the goal is to use EHRs “as a tool to engage the patient in their own care.”

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks

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