Informed Opinion Leadership Action Group
James B. Couch, M.D., J.D., FACPE, for 30 years as a practicing physician, attorney and senior executive for leading health care, financial, legal and professional services organizations, has devoted his career to quality and patient safety, especially where the practices and principles of medicine, law, information technology, business and risk management merge. He co-authored an Electronic Medical Record Patient Safety and Risk Management Guide for Princeton Insurance Company’s 13,500 covered providers. He presented and contributed this guide to the IOM Committee which just published its report on how best to improve and protect patient safety through the use of health information technology. He also presented his work on this topic to the current and immediate Past National Coordinators for Health Information Technology, senior officials at AHRQ, and the Health Project Leaders of the Bipartisan Policy Council (BPC).
Dr. Couch sat on the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) for four years. He held leadership positions in three national medical specialty societies in the AMA HOD dedicated to improving the quality, safety and cost effectiveness of healthcare. Dr. Couch is the author of three major books on healthcare quality, disease and health management. He served for two years on the Advanced Quality Workgroup of the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) which is charged with developing the quality standards providers must meet in their meaningful use of electronic records to qualify for $27.4 billion in federal subsidies.
Dr. Couch was the first author in the country back in 1987 to develop fully and publish on the principles and practices of value-based purchasing and insurance design, and how providers may continuously enhance their demonstrable value through participation in what are now called accountable care organizations (ACOs). He will keynote at least two national conferences later this year presenting a chapter he just completed to be released on the 25th Anniversary of his original publications on these topics. He was also the first physician to apply Six Sigma process and outcome improvement methods to the healthcare industry in 1992. Additionally, during his three year tenure as the only physician Senior Examiner in the nation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, he helped in the early development of that award for healthcare organizations. Dr. Couch has sat on two Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committees focused on improving the quality and safety of care through more effective health services research. He advised the Clinton Healthcare Reform Task Force and U.S. House Working Group on Healthcare Reform regarding the strategic importance of quality management in reform.
Dr. Couch in 2005 served as lead consultant assisting a $30 billion company to become one of the first four federal contractors chosen to design the National Health Information Network (NHIN). Dr. Couch led an unprecedented study at a major university health plan demonstrating the 707% ROI of an evidence based medicine decision support system. This study was published in 2005 in a premier academic peer reviewed journal, resulting in the purchase of that company with that system for $400 million just three months later. The Director of the White House Office of Management and the Budget (OMB) praised this study in a July 21, 2009 “Washington Post” article. Dr. Couch is a Senior Fellow at Thomas Jefferson University’s School of Population Health. He has lectured at Penn, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Cornell, Harvard, Yale and Oxford in quality, patient safety and health policy. He is a Fellow of the Benjamin Franklin Society at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Last month, Penn awarded for the third year the James B. Couch, MD ’81 Academic Prize to the graduating medical student who exemplified the greatest scholarship, research and accomplishments in the dual disciplines of medicine and business.
Dr. Couch may be contacted at: JCouch@jhdgroup.com or at 908 642 6224