Fall 2007: Thomas M. Vogt, MD, MPH

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007 at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott
Lecture from 2 to 3:30 p.m. – Reception from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Quality, Costs and Special Interests: Can We Change Our Behavior in Time to Save US Health Care?

The United States spends more than twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation, yet it ranks at or near the bottom in life expectancy, patient satisfaction and percent of the population covered by health insurance among developed nations. Those nations with the highest life expectancy spend only a quarter to a third as much on health care as the U.S. There are many historical reasons that a system that once led the world is now teetering on the verge of economic collapse. Many of those reasons are not appreciated by the general public, health professionals or legislators. This presentation will discuss the underlying causes of our failing health care system and then consider potential remedies. Electronic medical records offer unique opportunity to learn from our experiences more quickly and accurately than has previously been possible; however, that knowledge requires behavior changes in three different sectors: the general public, the health care system and its culture and structure and legislative and regulatory processes. Health behavior research needs to expand its focus to consider how positive changes in the behaviors and cultures of populations, organizations and regulatory bodies can be achieved in order to address the extraordinary inefficiencies of U.S. health care. Without such changes, financial collapse of the health system is likely within a decade.

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Biographical Sketch

Photo of Thomas M. Vogt.

Thomas Vogt is a physician and epidemiologist with extensive experience in health behavior change (especially diet, weight management and smoking), health services research and quality improvement, collaborative clinical trials and cardiovascular and osteoporosis epidemiology. He has a particular interest in ways to improve the effectiveness and reduce the costs of preventive care and chronic disease management. Vogt received his MD from the University of California at San Francisco in 1971 and his MPH from the University of California, Berkeley in 1974.

He has served on the faculties of UCLA, the Oregon Health and Sciences University and the University of Hawaii (where he held the MJ Sullivan Chair at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii). He joined the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (CHR) in 1978 where he served as principal investigator for clinical sites of several multi-site NIH supported behavior trials and as PI of the coordinating center for the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial. In 1999, he became the founding director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Hawaii and a member of the National Research Council of Kaiser Permanente which he chaired from 2004 to 2006.

Vogt’s current research interests focus on improving preventive care, particularly long term weight management, health care quality and reducing health care costs. He is the author of 127 peer reviewed publications and three books. His most recent book [Scott, T., Rundall, T.G., Vogt, T.M., & Hsu, J. (2007). Implementing an electronic medical record system: Successes, failures, lessons. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.] addresses the challenges and potentials of introducing electronic medical records into health care systems.