Dr. Robert Wah is the new president of the American Medical Association. He serves as chief medical officer for Computer Sciences Corp. and teaches at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health. He served as the first deputy national coordinator in HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Wah has appeared on Modern Healthcare's list of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders five times. Modern Healthcare staff recently interviewed him. This is an edited transcript.
Modern Healthcare: What happened with this year's effort to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth-rate formula?
Dr. Robert Wah: We were very optimistic. We had both the Senate and the House working on this, and we had bipartisan support. At the last minute, Congress did a very unusual voice vote to pass the 17th patch on this problem. We're hoping that at the end of the year we'll be able to take that bicameral, bipartisan work and push it across the finish line.
MH: What is your vision for the use of health IT?
Wah: We see technology as a tool that will help us take better care of our patients, and this has to be physician-led. We did a survey last fall asking practices what are the frustrating things about the practice today, and electronic health records were high on that list. They wanted it to work better with the workflow in their office and help them, not hinder them, in taking care of their patients. We're going to go to the EHR vendors and tell them about the problems we found.