Our Spotlight this week features Mark Melrose, DO, MFA, SeeThru advisor and Chief of Emergency Services at North Central Bronx Hospital. Mark received his medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1984 and a Masters in Fine Arts in Film from New York University. He is an urgent care pioneer throughout the greater New York Area and has been named a Top Doc in both New Jersey and New York.
What brought you to healthcare?
My father was a pharmacist and always wished he was a doctor. We lived upstairs from his drugstore and I was coached, as was my youngest brother. I’m in Emergency Medicine and my brother is in Family Practice. We made Dad proud, but my middle brother was the clever one. He’s a talent agent in L.A.
Describe the biggest change that you’ve seen in healthcare since you began your career.
The resources devoted to the administration of care has far surpassed those for providing actual care. And none of this creates better outcomes. Imagine if all that cash and energy was invested in making patients healthier instead of administrators and executives wealthier. The new new thing in healthcare is “value” and population health. We will have to wait and see if better value equates with better outcomes.
As a provider, what do you view as the biggest challenge for patients today?
There is so much information available and so little time to sort through it. The bureaucracy is overwhelming. Imagine any other industry the requires new classes of experts to help operate the system- navigators to help patients decide where to obtain care and understand their insurance benefits. It is insane and wouldn’t be tolerated in any other segment of the economy.
How does this correlate with the greatest obstacles providers are facing?
We need scribes who enter information into electronic health records for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to expand the provider workforce. Physicians spend way less than half of their time taking care of patients. We don’t have a shortage of physicians, we have an overwhelming number of administrative tasks that prevent physicians from actually providing care.
So how do we prepare future physicians for future obstacles such as these?
One of the bigger problems in medical education today is how expensive a medical education is. If we had a single-payer system and kept medical school just as competitive, but made it more affordable, then it wouldn’t be so compelling for medical students to gravitate towards procedure-driven specialties such as orthopedics and neurosurgery in order to pay back student debt. This would also help free up [healthcare] resources.
Having a technology solution that creates efficiency by eliminating financial uncertainty helps everyone in the healthcare food chain. There is no downside, no added expense.
Do you have any interesting hobbies / sports / pursuits you’d be interested in sharing with our readers?
I surf as much as possible and have been around the world looking for uncrowded waves, and last month I completed my 5th NYC Triathlon. It was a super hot day so I was happy to just finish.
Favorite Local Spot: The Hamptons
Rapid Fire Round
- What is something that you believe that other people think is insane?I don’t really like dogs. I was attacked when I was a child, and my son was bitten on the finger when he was 1–1/2. Dog lovers just don’t understand.
- What is your favorite documentary? Man on Wire
- The most useful product or service you’ve bought in 2018, under $100? Any bottle of Bourbon
- If you had a billboard in Times Square what would it say?