Written by Jessica Kim Cohen
While many physicians report frustration with EHRs, Michael Pfeffer, MD, took an interest in the technology — a decision that led him down a new career path.
After earning his medical degree at Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, Dr. Pfeffer enrolled in the internal medicine residency program at UC Los Angeles’ David Geffen School of Medicine. After his graduation from the residency program and chief residency year, UCLA Health leadership decided to move forward with a new EHR system.
“I became involved in the project, and really loved it,” Dr. Pfeffer says. “I always loved computers, processes and complex projects and design, and with this project, I got to spend more of my time involved in informatics.”
With this experience under his belt, Dr. Pfeffer went on to become chief medical informatics officer at UCLA Health in 2013 and was appointed to CIO one year later. Today, Dr. Pfeffer continues in his position as CIO at UCLA Health, where he also practices as an internal medicine physician.
Dr. Pfeffer spoke with Becker’s Hospital Review about his background as a physician, his goals for UCLA Health and why the health system decided to begin the adoption of OpenNotes.
Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Question: How does your background in informatics and internal medicine inform your work as CIO?
Dr. Michael Pfeffer: I still see patients, so I’m using all of the technology we put in place for our providers. I have the opportunity to see first-hand what kind of products we’re delivering, how they can be better and how our clinicians view them. I also get to discuss with patients the use of our electronic patient portal. Working as a physician really gives me an understanding of the business, how we’re using technology and what new technologies and efficiencies we should be looking toward in the future to increase the value IT provides.
Read the full interview here!