Insider secrets to improve value-based medicine
Drs. Gary and Melissa Brown share lifelong vision for improved patient quality of life
Sight Lines By J.C. Noreika, MD, MBA
Editor’s Note: In this installment of Sight Lines, Gary Brown, MD, MBA, and Melissa Brown, MD, MN, MBA, discuss their work quantifying the value of ophthalmic care as it relates to the improvement of patients’ quality of life. Their use of Quality-Adjusted Life-Years methodology allows comparison of cost-effectiveness of medical, pharmacologic, and surgical interventions within and across specialties.
DR. NOREIKA: Tell our readers what led you to this mission.
MELISSA: I come from a long line of medical practitioners. My father and grandfather were physicians. While beginning my medical career in nursing as a clinical nurse specialist and nursing educator, with the support of my husband, I returned to school. I earned my medical degree at Jefferson Medical College, completing my ophthalmology training at Wills Eye Hospital. I maintained a private practice in comprehensive ophthalmology and in 1998, Gary and I founded the Center for Value-Based Medicine.
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It was clear to me that health-care policy needed to change to keep up with the growing health-care expenditures but appreciated the clear need for improved quality care. The undertaking has focused on collaborate work with other physicians on developing a systematic approach that could meet both objectives in the United States. My long-time concern for maintaining quality health care for our patients and family has remained the incentive for my efforts.
GARY: After graduating from Colgate College, I attended medical school in New York. I did my ophthalmology training at Wills Eye and stayed on to complete a vitreoretinal fellowship. My early career was influenced by the mentorship of Dr. Jerry Shields who remains a colleague and good friend.
After my fellowship, I joined the faculty at Wills Eye Institute and have enjoyed the rewards of an academic career—research, writing, teaching, speaking. I’ve had a keen interest in empowering ophthalmologists and saw early on how the system favored payers over providers and patients. This led Melissa and I to our next adventure.
DR. NOREIKA: You started a health insurance company. I remember Gary speaking about it years ago to an ovation at an American Academy of Ophthalmology mid-year forum. Tell us about this.