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HL20: Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM—Collaboration Critical to Discovering Best Practices

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2013

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are making a difference in healthcare. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in the evolution of healthcare. This is the story of Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM.

This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

"In the end, it was always about whether our work was likely to result in something that would benefit the patients or population."

When pharmaceutical and medical device companies align with physicians, sometimes the patient is seen as the third wheel. One cardiologist and researcher at Yale University School of Medicine is trying to change that. Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM, credits the collaborations he's made for advances in industry transparency and patient safety innovations, not biased prescriptions or ignored patient interests.

In June 2013, Medtronic, the medical device giant, released the findings of two research groups it commissioned, led by Krumholz, which investigated the company's back-surgery device Infuse. The two research teams concluded the device was no more effective than an older technique but also carried additional risks to the patient. These findings were released to the public immediately. This corporate experiment in transparency is exactly the kind of relationship Krumholz enjoys being a part of.

"My philosophy was always to work to develop strategic partnerships. Bring the science and clinical perspective to work with people eager to bring other perspectives and data. It was never about negotiating access to the data," says Krumholz. "We were always trying to figure out how to work in a collaborative or collegial way. In the end, it was always about whether our work was likely to result in something that would benefit the patients or population."

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