President Now and Next

Imagine the primary health care setting of the future.

It’s a place where health care is preventive and tailored to your genetics and lifestyle. Disease is detected in the early stages and misdiagnoses are rare thanks to predictive analytics developed through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The provider is present in the exam room, eyes on the patient, fully engaged. The patient is the quarterback of this interdisciplinary team of providers from different disciplines all working together to make the most informed decisions.

That future is what we are working to create at UNTHSC. As new innovations and technologies emerge and providers are reimbursed for keeping people healthy rather than the volume of procedures performed, primary care will continue to grow in importance.

UNTHSC has long recognized the significance of primary care. For 50 years, TCOM has trained empathetic primary care doctors, often practicing in areas with large medically underserved populations. This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked TCOM 8th nationally for primary care, and UNTHSC continues to produce the most primary care physicians in Texas.

The addition of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine has strengthened our university as a producer of providers of the future.

With six schools on one centralized campus, our students leave UNTHSC uniquely prepared to work in high-performing teams and coordinate care for patients. An emphasis on emotional intelligence helps prepare them to communicate with fellow providers and patients.

We have started incorporating this patient-centered style of care into our UNT Health clinics, creating better outcomes for patients and training opportunities for students. In other words, we are practicing what we preach.

Our focus on innovation and entrepreneurship ensures that our students develop the skills to manage the business of a thriving practice and discover novel ways to deliver care efficiently. Population health strategies give them the vision and tools to improve the health of not just individual patients but entire populations.

I had the privilege of delivering the keynote at a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce health care symposium last month. I told the audience of North Texas health care and business leaders that providers of the future must be tech-savvy, lifelong learners who are comfortable delivering care in homes, hospitals, retail spaces and via the Internet – while maintaining that vital human-to-human connection with patients.

That provider, I assured them, is exactly the kind of provider we are training at the Health Science Center. We are creating the primary health care team of the future to make our community healthier and improve care for generations of North Texans.

I appreciate all you do,

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Dr. Michael R. Williams
UNTHSC President
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