HLM: Last year, you had the idea to have ACP convene a meeting for professional specialists in Washington, D.C. I hear that you sent out 64 invitations and 63 responded. What was the meeting about?
DB: Yes. It was a summit meeting, and 63 said yes, and did come. It was to talk about some areas of common concern, and how we work together as specialists to be more effective both with advocacy and collaboration.
HLM: Can you be more specific?
DB: There are challenges in interprofessional relationships, about who is going to take responsibility for doing what when you're caring across a spectrum of patient illness. For example, coronary disease. What should the internal medicine specialists be doing and what should the cardiologist be doing. We have to be more efficient, especially as baby boomers start needing more and more medical care. We don't want to waste peoples' time, both the doctors and the patients.
For example, we don't want both the general internal medicine doctor and the cardiologist managing a patient's cholesterol. Someone should, but it shouldn't be both.
HLM: That doesn't sound efficient. Is that the way doctors have been practicing?
DB: Too often, in the era of disconnected paper medical records, there's often been a lack of clarity for the generalist or specialist.