When he isn’t cheering at his grandson’s baseball game or absorbed in a round of golf, Joseph Drozda, Jr., MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Clinical Quality Committee (CQC) and a member of ACC’s Board of Trustees, is working tirelessly for patient care. As both a cardiologist and director of outcomes research at Mercy Health in St. Louis, MO, for the past five years, Drozda – who is now retired from direct patient care – still holds the doctor-patient relationship as the most rewarding facet of his career. “I always looked forward to seeing my patients,” says Drozda. “We developed a history working through medical and life-changing decisions together. I had come to feel a part of their lives, as both a personal advisor and friend.” When Drozda began to see the bottom line get in the way of patient care, he knew it was time to take action. “Business types kept coming in to try to control health care costs without having any clinical knowledge,” explains Drozda. “Patient care began to suffer and I knew I could do better. The budget is important but patients are more important.” Drozda has dedicated his career to keeping patients at the center of care decisions. With an impressive record as a clinical cardiologist, clinical and health services researcher, and health plan/health system management executive, he has become a nationally-acknowledged physician leader in health care performance measurement and quality improvement. He is always looking for new ways to provide excellent care at a reasonable cost to keep both patients and hospital executives happy. As leader of the College’s CQC committee for the past six years, Drozda has promoted health policy statements, point of care tools, alliances with lifelong learning, and most importantly, has created a process to allow ACC staff and leaders to accomplish great things in the name of patient care. And he is constantly trying to increase physician engagement to reach care goals. If there is one thing Drozda could share with his fellow physicians it is this – clinical quality is paramount. “It is absolutely necessary for physicians to step up and address the issue of performance and quality improvement. Don’t leave the field to the business types,” Drozda implores his fellow cardiologists. “It is part of our professional obligation to our patients to step up and get involved with clinical quality initiatives in our offices, our health systems, our communities and in the nation as a whole. It is time to become an active participant.”
Published by American College of Cardiology. View All Articles.