President’s Message

December 20, 2018

I am honored and humbled to step into the role of CMSS President. My first order of business is to thank David Hoyt, Helen Burstin, and our entire Board for a job well-done in 2018. David, as President, and Helen, as our new EVP and CEO, not only led us through a year of transition to Helen’s leadership, but propelled CMSS into its future working with the Board to propose a new vision, mission, and strategic priorities. At our Annual Meeting in November, we received tremendous feedback from our CEO group, the component groups and association leaders in general that we are using to refine the vision, mission and strategic priorities to best serve the needs of our member specialty societies.

For those of you who do not know me, I am a family physician, board-certified in both family medicine and clinical informatics. The majority of my 32 professional years since residency and fellowship were spent in a small independent practice in Toledo, Ohio. Our group was committed to teaching residents and medical students in a community setting and we piloted some progressive information technology tools, at the time, including a web-based EHR and a community-wide patient referral platform. I had multiple leadership roles within family medicine including president of the Ohio chapter of the AAFP and service on the AAFP Board of Directors. As an AAFP Board member, I became a representative to CMSS.  In 2005, I moved into a CMIO role with Mercy Health in Ohio which set the stage for dedicating the rest of my career to health care transformation. Today, I am Vice President of Clinical Integration for St. Luke’s Care Network in eastern Pennsylvania. We are a clinically integrated network across 10 counties with more than 250,000 lives in various alternative payment models. I still teach residents and medical students and see patients part-time.

In February, I will represent CMSS at the Physicians’ Electronic Health Record Coalition (PEHRC) meeting during the annual HIMSS conference. All our specialty societies face the crisis of physician burnout. Although I believe that loss of autonomy is at the heart of burnout for most physicians, the EHR is the lightning rod of physician and clinician dissatisfaction. The EHR has not lived up to its promises nor its potential for improving patient care, improving the health of populations and making physicians more effective and efficient. Many would argue that the EHR as a clinical tool has been hijacked to become a very expensive and burdensome documentation, coding, and compliance tool for billing within a payment model that is not sustainable.

PEHRC is composed of more than 20 medical societies representing more than 600,000 physicians. PEHRC welcomes multi-disciplinary professional and trade organizations with physician components to participate in the coalition to support a united physician’s voice for health IT. CMSS encourages its member organizations to identify a colleague to join this valuable coalition of health IT professionals. PEHRC membership information can be found by clicking here.

Happy Holidays!
Ken Bertka, MD