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End of Life

End of Life

Dr. Richard W Cohen

End of Life

End-of- life is a significant issue for patients, families and health care teams. The Institute of Medicine and the book ‘Being Mortal’ have increased the awareness of the public and the health care profession. The key to the issue is the ability of a patient to express their wishes for how they chose to live out their life and the ability of the health care team to honor those wishes.

Those wishes are documented in an ‘Advance Directive’ and, when appropriate, in a ‘Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment’ (POLST). The POLST is a medical order that aims to enable seriously
ill patients to designate the treatments they desire and to ensure that those preferences are honored by medical professionals.

The Georgia POLST Collaborative is a part of the National POLST Paradigm. The Georgia POLST
Collaborative aims to educate patients, families and health care professionals throughout the state about end-of- life planning, advance directives, and the Georgia POLST.

Dr. Richard Cohen recently retired as the medical director of the WellStar Health System’s Ethics Department. He founded Wellstar’s Health System Ethics and Advance Care Planning and End-of- Life programs. Dr. Cohen is the chairman of the Board of Georgia Health Decisions, the chairman of the Georgia POLST Collaborative, and a member of the Executive Committee of the National POLST Paradigm Taskforce.

He practiced total joint restoration in Atlanta for 40 years. Dr. Cohen received he medical degree from the Jefferson University Medical School in Pennsylvania.


Telemedicine Education for Healthcare Professionals

Telemedicine education

Tanya Mack of Womens Telehealth

Telemedicine Education for Healthcare Professionals

This week Tanya Mack hosted Aneel Irfan, of Telehealth Magazine, to talk about telemedicine education for healthcare professionals.  American healthcare is transforming and telemedicine will be a critical part of it going into the future.  Research, medical information and consults are now delivered instantly across large geographic distances.

Telemedicine has been transformed from a novelty way to provide patient care to a booming industry. Current healthcare professionals are the 1 st generation of “Digital Natives”, who are well versed in incorporating technology into their daily interactions. They are in a position to apply these advances
into the patient care arena.

However, formal, systematic training will be required to get on pace with telemedicine encounters being “on par” with in-person, traditional patient care. Today, our segment will be exploring the question: “How do we begin training healthcare professionals to maximize the potential of telemedicine?” Listen in as our guest, Aneel Irfan; from the industry’s premier publication,
Telehealth Magazine, discusses his thoughts in this area.

Special Guest:

Aneel Irfan, Contributing Editor, Telehealth Magazine

Health Literacy

health literacy

Dr. Ruth Parker

Health Literacy

Health literacy is focused on what physicians and other health care providers can do to provide their patients with information that is both understandable and useful. Patients often struggle understanding what they need to know and do – and health care professionals often deliver messages that are too complicated for patients to understand.
An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report estimated that nearly half the adult population lacks the literacy skills to understand and use health information. One study found that just 12 percent of U.S. adults have the health literacy skills they need to manage the demands of our complex health care system. In addition, their ability to absorb and use health information can be compromised by stress or illness. Limited health literacy is associated with poor health status, higher use of services, and worse clinical outcomes.

Preventable complications result in more stress on the patient and their family members – as well as increased costs. “Patient centeredness” is a salient theme within the medical profession, but it can be a difficult practice to put into place on a daily basis. Health literacy encourages physicians and other health care providers to practice good listening and communications skills to ensure that their
patients receive information and advice they need in a way that is both understandable and useful.

Ruth Parker, M.D., is a professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Public Health Department at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. She attended medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Parker completed residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Rochester, and she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Parker has focused on health literacy for more than 20 years.

She is a co-author of the ‘Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults’ (TOFHLA) and the definition of health literacy that is used by Healthy People 2010, the IOM, the NIH, and in the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Parker has served in leadership roles as a health literacy advocate for professional societies, including the AMA and the ACP Foundation.

She has consulted with a number of state and federal agencies, professional organizations, and industry regarding their health literacy efforts. Dr. Parker was a member of the IOM Health Literacy Committee and the Health Literacy Roundtable. She has received a number of national awards for her work.

Special Guest:

Dr. Ruth Parker, MD, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Public Health
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Autism Spectrum Disorder


Caitlin Delfs

Womens Telehealth Logo

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The CDC estimates that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the US is approximately
1:68 children. ASD affects more males (1:42 ) than females (1:189). ASD is a class of neurodevelopmental conditions including: interaction difficulties, communication and language impairments, and repetitive behaviors.

The average of at ASD diagnosis is around 4 years of age, but can be diagnosed much earlier.  Recent studies suggest that there is a gap between the number of children diagnosed with ASD and those
receiving services to treat ASD. Yet- we know early intervention helps children with ASD progress. Our
segment today focuses on the latest in ASD intervention and how technology has impacted the field. Top national expert, Dr. Caitlin Delfs, from the Marcus Autism Center joins us to provide the latest in ASD information and research findings.

More info soon!



health information exchanges

Susan Moore and Laura McCrary


I hosted a special edition of Top Docs Radio with MAG this week, to talk about healthcare information exchanges with MAG’s Susan Moore, and Laura McCrary, SVP of KaMMCO Health Solutions (KHS) and the executive director of the Kansas Health Information Network, Inc. (KHIN).

KHIN is a non-profit organization that provides health information exchange technology services to over 1,350 health care organizations throughout Kansas. KHS incorporates the KHIN formula for success with the valuable lessons learned and provides health exchange information and analytics services to physician-led organizations across the nation.  Laura has been instrumental in developing the new HealtheParadigm health information network that is available in Georgia.

Susan Moore is the Medical Association of Georgia’s Director of Third Party Payer and Health Policy. She will serve as MAG’s primary contact for HealtheParadigm.

MAG and KaMMCO Health Solutions (KHS) have established a partnership that is called HealtheParadigm that is transforming the state’s health care system with a health IT solution that enables physicians to generate sophisticated patient data reports that they can use to improve outcomes and fulfill the new quality-based payer metrics.

It features a private, statewide health information network that participating physicians can use to share key patient data. HealtheParadigm will appeal to a lot of physicians and other health care providers who have remained on the sidelines because they haven’t found the right ‘fit’ given the options that are currently available in Georgia.

With the new alternative payment models that have been developed by CMS as a result of federal law – including the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and a number of Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) – it is imperative for physicians to be able to secure and submit the data they need to demonstrate they are delivering quality care.

Physicians who participate in the HealtheParadigm network will have access to actionable, real time data and meaningful reports which can help identify high-risk patients and chronic disease populations and improve patient outcomes through enhanced care coordination.  Physicians have indicated they want a proven technology for connectivity that also delivers actionable intelligence while also providing patients with access to their own health data.

This new suite of health information tools not only provides physicians with seamless, real-time access to their patient’s full longitudinal medical record at the point of care but also prepares them for the transition to the MACRA/MIPS alternative payment models.  MAG has established a HealtheParadigm advisory committee that consists of physicians and MAG’s executive director, Donald J. Palmisano Jr.

Physicians can contact Susan Moore with MAG at or 678-303- 9275 for details on how to begin using HealtheParadigm.

Special Guests:

Susan Moore, Director of Third Party Payer and Health Policy, Medical Association of Georgia

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Laura McCrary, EVP, KaMMCO Health Solutions  linkedin_small1
Executive Director, Kansas Health Information Network


Author Dr. Jay Faber and Enduring Hearts

Ankur Chatterjee

Ankur Chatterjee

Author Dr. Jay Faber and Enduring Hearts

Founded as a nonprofit organization in 2013, the mission of Enduring Hearts is to fund research that both increases the longevity of pediatric heart transplants and improves the quality of life for transplant recipients. The results of funded research projects contribute to the clinical and scientific knowledge about many important aspects of organ transplantation, e.g. the mechanisms of long-term organ deterioration, the consequences of tissue injury, and opportunities to intervene, postpone, and eliminate these rejection processes.

Executive Director for Enduring Hearts, Ankur Chatterjee joined me to talk about how the organization got its start and what it hopes to achieve by supporting research that will help extend the life

Dr. Faber is a veteran children’s and adult psychiatrist on staff at the Amen Clinic in Atlanta and in Costa Mesa, California.  He has written a book entitled “Escape: Rehab Your Brain to Stay out of the Legal System,” so he’ll be talking about this publication and how he believes this will be a game-changer for those who find themselves constantly getting into trouble with the law, often to the point of incarceration.

I was surprised to hear that as many as 85% of incarcerated Americans suffer from some form of substance abuse/addiction and many also face mental illness.  Dr. Faber’s book shares a road map for people who are dealing with substance abuse/addiction to be able to have a greater chance of recovery.