Vineyard physician describes benefit of Partners affiliation
Four years ago, I arrived on Martha's Vineyard. I had just completed my surgical training at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a major tertiary care center in Boston and, along with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the founding members of Partners Healthcare. Making the decision to work at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, the small community hospital that is at the center of health care on our Island, was a decision I made with my heart. After all, people would ask, why would you work at a small, rural institution after spending years training at tertiary care facilities? My response was that my training would help to provide the same level of care I had learned to dispense in the big city to my new community on the Island.
One of the most important lessons I learned in my training was to do right by the patient: provide quality care, and the business of medicine will take care of itself. By providing the best care anywhere, the founding members of Partners find themselves on every list of top hospitals in America.
When I learned that Mass General and Martha's Vineyard Hospital were discussing a possible affiliation, I thought back to a speech that our chairman of the board, John Ferguson, made four years ago when he predicted that we would become one of the best rural hospitals in America. How prescient that prediction now seems. The quality of care at our hospital is second to none, but that does not mean that we cannot improve. In fact, as physicians, we must always look to improve and update the care that we deliver.
An affiliation with MGH will allow us to enhance exponentially the care we provide. We will have access to some of the most advanced information systems in the world. Electronic medical records will allow us to better track and coordinate medical care across medical specialties. Electronic order entry will reduce errors that can compromise patient safety. Diagnostic support will help us manage challenging cases.
How do I know? These systems were in use when I trained at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and I have experienced their power firsthand. An affiliation will mean we will be able to streamline our referral process so that patients who need advanced care will receive it in a timely fashion. Our medical staff will have access to educational programs and a whole host of specialists, allowing us to become better doctors.
There are many other benefits to affiliating with Partners, however none is as important as the delivery of quality health care. In their 2005 annual report, Partners Healthcare chairman Jack Connors Jr. and Partners president and chief executive officer, James J. Morgan, M.D. wrote a letter entitled "Advanced Medicine That Leaves No One Behind." We might well be able to amend that to read "Advanced Medicine That Leaves No One Behind On Martha's Vineyard."
Dr Pieter Pil is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine (1996). He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery. He did post-graduate training at Brigham & Women's, where he was chief resident. He and his wife, Dr. Karen Casper, moved to the Vineyard in 2002 and have three children.