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This “Goggle-eyed Radical” Wrote a Book

by Jonathan Bush, President & CEO

Today I became Jonathan Bush, CEO, President... and author. Where Does It Hurt? An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Fixing Health Care has my name on the front and my picture on the jacket. But the book isn’t really about me. It’s about how we can allow more humanity to emerge in our health care system. The same American medical establishment that saves lives and performs wondrous miracles is also a $2.7 trillion industry in deep dysfunction. My time as an ambulance driver, a medic, owner of a failing birthing clinic and ultimately as CEO of athenahealth generated all of these plausible ideas for fixing our health care system. It’s time I share them with you, with enormous help from my co-author and friend Steve Baker, author of The Numerati, who worked considerable magic in helping translate my rants into fluid prose.

In Where Does it Hurt?, I share the stories of clients and others who are putting their vision into action and doing well by doing good. They’re disrupting the status quo through new business models, new payment models, and new technologies that give patients more control of their care while enhancing the physician-patient experience. For example, Florida Woman Care is disrupting hospital-centric systems by doing minimally invasive procedures at half the cost charged by hospitals. Hudson Headwaters, an FQHC and Medical Home in a rural, high-Medicaid area of upstate NY, is pioneering new care models and showing how a non-profit can operate with both mission and margin in mind. And the list goes on with example after example of the “crazy ones” who are chipping away at the status quo of the system. This book is as much a celebration of their work as it is a call to arms for other practices to follow suit.

It’s also a book about data. I believe that open data exchange is essential to the future of health care. When you are referred to a specialist, you shouldn’t have to fill out the same forms you filled out at the office down the street. Your health record should follow you, across doctor’s offices and across the country. And hospitals shouldn’t be scared of that. Big data is empowering to everyone. It will bolster the health care economy through competition by exposing rates and quality. Open data will enable shopping…and that is the big key to this necessary change. Shopping by doctors, shopping by employers, and ultimately by all of us. Of course, this is a thing that needs to sneak up gently on our fragile, sclerotic healthcare establishment, and with this book I have unburdened myself of all the tricks I can think of to accomplish this.

Thanks to Steve Baker and an awesome group of athenistas who were with me every step of the way, I’ve been able to find the right words, audacity and opportunity to share my book with all of you. If you do read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. If you don’t (despite your best intentions) it seems to be about the same thickness as those little brass wheels on the bottom of antique coffees tables which are notorious for breaking off. So either way, I hope it serves you well.

Hear Jonathan Bush present ideas from his new book on May 21st as part of a virtual event athenahealth is hosting titled, Where Does It Hurt?” Register today for this free event.

Check out Jonathan Bush's Google+ Profile. Follow @Jonathan_Bush on Twitter.

Jonathan Bush is the President and CEO of athenahealth.

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