Why Evolving Medical School Training Will Improve Healthcare with Dr. King Li, Inaugural Dean at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Why Evolving Medical School Training Will Improve Healthcare with Dr. King Li, Inaugural Dean at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Why Evolving Medical School Training Will Improve Healthcare with Dr. King Li, Inaugural Dean at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

Welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring health leaders. Today I have the amazing Dr. King Li. He's the Inaugural Dean at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Li's experience includes research, clinical, educational, and entrepreneurial roles at the NIH Clinical Center and Stanford University as well as Wake Forest in Houston Methodist Hospital. He studied physiology and biochemistry at the University of Toronto earned a medical degree from Toronto and an MBA from San Jose State University. He's been widely recognized by the Association of University radiologists in 2018 and he's received several awards in innovation and leadership. This award in particular recognizes a visionary who's made significant contributions to advancing radiology research, innovation, leadership, mentorship and growth of the RRAA - that's the Radiology Research Alliance. He's brought together all of these wonderful experiences and expertise to start the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. So I'm excited to dive into Dr. Lee's experience and then also talk more about the exciting projects that they have going on there so. King welcome to the podcast.

Saul, thank you for having me.

It is a pleasure. So is there anything in the bio that I left out that maybe you want the listeners to know about?

Yes I think I am also inventor. I have 17 inventions already. Also some entrepreneurial experience studying about tech companies. So you know that aspect also strengthened my experience in putting this new college to work.

That's fascinating. I didn't know you were an inventor as well. And and so this makes a lot of sense. You know why you're the Dean there but for the listeners that don't know maybe it would serve to give them a nice introduction about this school of medicine that you guys founded in Champaigne.

So the Carle Illinois College of Medicine is the world's first engineering focus college or medicine. So what is engineering focused college of medicine. So fundamentally we're actually combining Engineering and Medicine in teaching students. So we actually start by selecting students who have quantitative science background in addition to the medical requirements so that at a time they come in we can actually use a curriculum that actually leverages engineering principles and technology to actually teach medicine. So there are many schools for us that have actually layered engineering on top of medicine. We're not layering. We're actually combining so that they learn medicine they learn it through the lens of engineer and also through the lens of basic scientists. So we actually have four pillars in our education. So traditionally is just clinical sciences and basic sciences. We did it to this engineering and also humanities. That's the fundamental difference between our school and the College of Medicine.

It's super interesting King How you guys made a decision a conscious decision to do this and put together a program a facility all focused toward this especially now and in the realm where technology just keeps getting better and cheaper. And so I think the need is going to be there for physicians that have that engineering talent. I'm curious though, what made you decide to get into medicine to begin with?

Well so I've always been interested in the quantitative sciences and I was debating between hardcore science engineering or medicine. I learned that in medicine you can actually combine all of those. So to me that also gives a possibility of helping people. So to me that was a no brainer to get into medicine at that time.

That's really interesting. So we're at the forefront of a lot of new things in health we got value based care, we've got new treatments for oncology, digital health. Out of all the the soup of new things and buzzwords King, What would you say a hot topic that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda today and how are you guys addressing it there at the school?

Right so I think the one thing that people stick in technology and medicine is the really technology should be used to strengthen humanistic aspects of medicine rather than to distance the healthcare providers from the patients or actually not just patients but anyone that they tick off whether they're sick healthy. In our world we actually want to emphasize rebuilding relationships using technology so they include human to human relationships, human to machine relationships and machine to machine relationships. I think that's the hot topic how to actually leverage technology to enhance relationships is a topic that we focus on a lot.

So what would you say an example of how you and your organization approach that? This how tech can can enhance relationships?

So for instance right so if you walk into a doctor's office today versus walking into a doctor's office 30 years ago.

Yes.

You find that most of the technologies that doctors use today in the office has not changed, right? See the stethoscope that was invented 200 years ago or telescope the instrument that doctors look into years of patients with was invented 180 years ago. And this technology's actually low fidelity and they also low efficiency. Why. Because they tie in four different processes into one. So data acquisition. So the doctor has to listen and acquire data using their own years rate which is as we all age of her daddy goes down. Yeah second is it data analysis, right? That too actually requires the brain of a weltering person the right to actually analyze data is not recorded. So it has to be processed instantly. Right. Then you have to have decision making right. So you have to combine the data analysis with added data to come up with the decision and then counseling. Right. So that doctor has to decide on a course of action in the end and hopefully get the consent of the patients and proceed with the course of treatment. So you can see all four processes are tied to the most highly paid person in the food chain right.

Yes.

If we can't divide up the processes and use an instrument to have higher fidelity that can actually record the sound and record the waveforms and the second step data analysis can be using artificial intelligence assisted analysis and the gift that decisions support to the physicians and actually we can now combine that data with all the other data from the clinical records and elsewhere to give that doctor the best decision support. And then all this can be done separately from where the doctors sit. So theoretically it can be done remotely and this data and the decisions report can then be sent to the doctor. The doctor can then write make a decision and then talk to the patients remotely so he can see how by leveraging that type of technology we can increase the efficiency and quality of healthcare and also make it lower cost and more accessible to patients.

That's a really great breakdown and a good example from a very basic physical to your physician. I didn't realize these instruments were that old 180 years old on the ah...

That's why you know we're still used as status almost as a symbol of the physician right. That's interesting that we haven't really improved that instrument until most recently.

Very interesting. Some of these things oftentimes go unquestioned listeners we gotta start questioning even the most fundamental things in what we do. It could be those minor shifts that could lead to large scale outcomes improvement and new business models. As you look to approach these two things in healthcare it's really important to King's point. Dr. Lee can you give the listeners an example of how you and your organization have created results with this new campus?

Absolutely. So the first thing that we need to do is to actually fundamentally read them the curriculum. So to do that we actually in each of the courses we have three course directors. Basic science, one from clinical science and one from engineering. And their purpose is to make sure that the curriculum integrates all those disciplines. And we also have humanities professors that actually look through the threat to make sure that the social aspects, the humanistic aspects of medicine is incorporated in the curriculum and the curriculum is through active learning in the pre-clinicial years. That means that instead of hearing lectures. So the students are divided up into groups of eight and we give them cases for down to solve. And during the case solving process they will learn to use a different knowledge base including engineering basic science, clinical science. We can also set up cases where they learn to write the practical social and humanistic aspects. For example imagine you have a heart disease patients coming in and the patient doesn't even have money to fill the prescription. So just writing a prescription doesn't help that patient. So you give the patients support to the group and they can look up the potential support system that can help the patient right. So that gives them more training than just learning to prescribe the correct medicine.

That's great. Yep. And so tying up this I think it's fascinating that you guys have put together this system within the organization. You know the science, the clinical science, the engineering and then the humanities I really think that that really captures nicely all the elements of medicine and it's great that you're giving students the opportunity to start early on in their career with this. One of the things that that has come up in discussions with other healthcare leaders I've had several chief medical officers on the podcast they've said Our students are not learning how to be leaders. And one of the deficiencies unfortunately as we seek to make physicians leaders of large ideations is leadership skills. Is your campus doing anything to hold the leadership skills of these people?

Absolutely. So in the critical years we want to really stimulate curiosity and creativity in our students. So for every critical rotation our students are required to come up with a new idea to change things. You call them your projects and you help them. We actually have engineering rounds so in clinical rotations right the students do rounds with the clinical professors. But in addition to the clinical professors we have engineering professors going two rounds with our students. The idea is that our students are young and they are curious they will look at the way we do things and they will challenge the way we do things and come up with potential ideas of changing things right. So do we have some ideas around with both a clinical professor and also the engineer and professor to see whether those ideas are actually feasible or have anyone thought of them before. Have they done before. Each rotation there will be a new and through the idea projects one will be selected to be there Capstone projects in the capstone projects. They will be the leader of a team of artists that they select from campus. For example you can't have a business school and you can have engineering students you can even design student right. So they would lead the team to turn the idea into a prototype so they would learn the actual leadership skills in leading a multidisciplinary team. I think from ideas to a prototype.

That's great. Sounds like you guys have captured a lot of the things that have been lacking in traditional medical schools today and that's it's pretty exciting to hear that you've put it all together as part of a capstone project sort of from the beginning just teaching them to question, teaching them to question convention.

Yes I think there are four qualities, ee call them the four Cs that we emphasize.

Okay.

Right. The first is compassion training doctors. Second is competence. Those two are quite common in the medical school values. But the last two Cs are quite uncommon that is curiosity and creativity. So the idea that in most medical education we're learning the so-called standard practice. So we were taught when we were going through medical school to learn the standard of practice almost never question right. Why we practice the way we practice. But for our students we encourage them to actually question, to ask the question why. Typically we educate students to ask right - what, when, and how and not why. So our students will be encouraged to ask the question why. Why are we doing this? Why are we treating this patient this way? Right. So that is fundamentally different.

Yeah. It's that creativity and just understanding the why behind it. Whereas before they didn't Yeah you know I had I don't know if you know or Arlen Mayers he's the guy that started society of physician entrepreneurs.

Yeah.

Yes. You know he comes to mind and I was at a meeting and he was very passionate about these two pillars you know creativity and just being able to be curious and to your point, Dr. Li it's just I think it's such a wonderful thing to focus on. And the best organizations know how to keep things simple. And you guys have definitely done that with these two pillars to really capture this this much needed skill in physicians today. So congratulations for being able to boil it down to just those two pillars.

Thank you.

So what would you say King is one of the things that during the inception of this school and everything that you guys did what was a setback that you guys had that you learned a lot from that you want to share with the listeners?

So one of the things that we were actually trying to do to actually finance the actual medical school was fundraising.

Yes.

So we were actually behind in our fundraising and the target set for our fundraising goal was very high. So there was a setback that we experience but luckily the university has come up with the support that is needed to give us all the resources that is needed to make the medical school very successful. Clearly we are continuing to raise money and very actively actually. But that was a mistake that was made to actually set the fundraising target very high in the beginning.

And so you'd think it would have been better said a little bit lower?

Or actually not use it as a major pillar in the beginning for funding Medical's enterprise.

Got it. Got it as sort of as a requirement to make it happen.

Yes.

Gotcha gotcha. OK. Because obviously hey it's not cheap to run a medical school and just being able to not make it a requirement and finding creative ways like you guys did with the university to make it happen.

Yes. So we have many ways of making it very efficient. So for example instead of hiring a lot of full time faculties the major advantage for us is we are within a large comprehensive university so most of our faculty is actually part time from other colleges. In fact we have faculty from 10 different colleges. It is a huge advantage because imagine. Right. Who can really teach behavioral change and marketing professor from business. So we actually have professors from liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business you name it all the way to fine arts. So that's why we can be a lot more efficient financially and also it builds in from the beginning the disciplinary nature of how Education Research. And so on.

Fascinating. Well congrats on being able to make that happen. Kane you've had a fruitful career. What would you say out of all the things that you've done is one of the proudest medical leadership experiences you've had to date? It could be on the business side it could be on the practitioner side, what would you say?

I would say definitely the current job right. The inaugural dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine is clearly the most impactful job I've ever had. Because can be seeing the turning point in not just a medical education. The delivery of healthcare in the world. And you really look at health care right at a time when major changes are required. So the costs of health care in this country is already about 18 percent of GDP. Aging population. Right. We have a urgent time to find solutions that can improve the quality decrease cost increase access ability and increase equity in health care. And we believe that technology and engineering can bring solutions that can help healthcare to move in that direction. We let the people who actually are trained specifically to do it. And so our school is targeted to that purpose and that can be a turning point in our group. Dean that this fantastic mission is clearly the most impactful job ever had.

That's outstanding congratulations on that and listeners if you're looking for a school that is at the forefront of getting things done in the new age of medicine. You guys definitely have to check it out. We'll leave a link for the school as well as the best way to get a hold of the folks over there here at toward the end of the podcast which we're getting close to. So Li, getting close to the end. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course and what it takes to be successful in the business of medicine - The 101 of Dr. King Li. We're going to build a syllabus with four questions that are lightning round style followed by a book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready?

Yes.

All right. What's the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?

As I mentioned earlier is rebuilding relationships. We have to look at how to rebuild a patient doctor relationships currently around you only see a doctor once a year or even less when you are healthy and then use suddenly I have to see them. Often when you get sick they really don't know you as a person by the way that we build relationships. Very different from the family doctors that West portray. Right. Many years ago. Right. Dr. Marcus Welby that actually watch when I was a kid. So the way to use technology to rebuild relationship is look at how for example I get contact my grandkids in California or I can Skype with them. And so on. How can we actually build relationships again so that doctors and patients actually feel like they really didn't know each other so that important important. Also rebuilding a network of support systems that doctors know about not just the patient people who are around the family their friends and so on. Right. And then the second is so called person to machine relationships. Currently the doctors have a hyper now rate because electronic health records really require doctors to enter a lot of data that is actually draining energy instead of putting it into patient care actually pulling it into capturing data. So that needs to change. And lastly machine relationships. Imagine you have one electronic health care record not talking to an electronic health record right patients actually carrying this from one doctor to another. Now what needs to change also. So rebuilding relationships fundamentally, leveraging technology but not to decrease the humanistic aspect but increased a humanistic aspect is the most important and the best way to improve healthcare outcomes.

And what would you say the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid is?

The resistance to change is the major barrier right. For example we as doctors are used to patients coming to see us now. But before the industrial revolution, doctors used to go and see the patients.

Right.

In their home. So imagine you're 83 year old, living alone. It's snowing outside the closest doctor is 35 miles away and you're sick. You have to drive to the doctor or you have to call an ambulance to transport you right. That's highly inefficient and not accessible. So how do we leverage technology to fundamentally change bring high quality health care to sick people where they are inside too. That's right. Well imagine the day when you can actually use Alexa to take their medical history.

Love that.

Then a drone would send the right equipment to do the data collection. Using artificial intelligence and then the doctors remotely can come up and say so and so. I thoink you have pneumonia. It's not so bad. You have to go to the hospital. So the next drone coming in would take the drugs to you. Right. This is how you take them. You have any questions you can call me anytime. And by the way you can't put all those instruments under drone and then flies back to where we are so that way you can take high quality medicine to where patients are right. That's not a pipe dream right. It can be done using even current technology. So those are some fundamental changes that doctors have to that too. Right.

Absolutely. And that's a great way of focusing on and where things could be. What would you say your favorite book that you'd like to recommend to the listeners is?

The book that I like the most recent reading is called Cancer the Emperor of all Melodies. He's Siddhartha Mukherjee is a winning book and it's not just talk about cancer. It actually went back into the history of how medicine, modern medicine, the concept of modern medicine get to the point that we are right. So it really opens the eyes as to why we feel that modern medicine can cure everything. If you are obese you want to take a pill and get it working your cure rate. That type of stuff is actually stand from the biggest success in modern medical history which is dealing with infectious disease right. You find a very specific course of the disease. It give a very specific treatment the right antibiotic and then your cure. What it's the biggest success in modern medical history. And we now have the mindset that everything is like that right we called deterministic for example give you are most likely to get sick. The randomized x you get cure right. Most diseases that will deal with today chronic right. So for example heart disease, diabetes and so on. And there is no magic cure. There's no single right treatment right. A lot of it is actually related to lifestyle. Everyone knows if you eat well, exercise well you have lower chance of getting a lot of those chronic diseases. How come we are not enabled to change behavior. Right. Because doctors are not trained to change behavior. Right. We are used to writing prescriptions in the concept of infectious disease but in the new world right where we're trying to actually do preventive care prevent this from happening. That goes to another core problem that we have this our biomarkers are too late. For example I can keep checking your blood pressure. By the time your prep pressure is high is actually late. I can keep checking your kidney functions by the time the kidney functions appears abnormal in the lab tests really have lost a lot of your kidney function. So how do we actually give very good predictive value of when you will be in 30 years and help you change your lifestyle right to prevent diseases from happening. Where does that data come from. Right that data actually doesn't come from measuring the the blood pressure, blood sugar, and so on. Actually measuring what you are doing is icing eating the right food and so on and that data actually sets in a lot of digital transactions, digital transaction become the norm. All that data is actually available. What food are you eating? Are you going to the gym with a cell phone in your pocket, theoretically we can trap where you have been. Have you been running? Have you been going to the park? You've been sitting there watching TV. Right so. So in that new world right. How do we actually leverage that data will it give us much better readout of what we call the risk. So again most people think that the CCS so-called deterministic. That means there is a cost right. And then you know it's definitely the result just like if I hit you right with my fist and your face you get traumatized. Deterministic medicine. Most diseases with deal if are not deterministic stochastic yes say not everyone smokes will get cancer for example lung cancer. Not everyone who don't smoke will not get lung cancer. So isn't it increased the risk, decreased risk. The whole mentality of dealing with stochastic diseases versus deterministic diseases is very different and that mindset is not naturally dear for both the practitioners and also patients.

Fascinating and like a good professor you've left us with a lot of questions to ponder. You've left us in a good place. Dr. Li. Before we conclude our love if you could just share a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could get in touch with or follow you.

Well the closing thought is I think we have a lot of young people with the right mindset that is willing to actually put the energy in helping the healthcare system to perform better make it higher or lower costs and more accessible and equitable. And the way we can help is actually unleash the potential and make them more successful. And best way to do that is really fundamentally changing education system. So.

You're doing just that.

Yes.

And so am excited to see your work continue there. Dr. Li. What would be the best place for the listeners to get in touch with or follow your work?

Yes. We have a website. If you just google Carle Illinois College of Medicine you get to a website. We have a lot of updated news and so on. So you can actually follow the progress or if you want to get in touch with me personally my email is kingli@illinois.edu and I would welcome the opportunity to communicate with anyone who is interested in what we're doing.

Thank you so much, King and folks I'll put all of the links that Keen's shared Dr. Lee shared on on the show notes you could find those at outcomesrocket.health/kingli you're going to find that there. His email, a link to the new school and the book that he recommended as well as the full transcript of our discussion today so King really appreciate your time and your insights today.

Thank you very much for giving me a chance to share my thoughts with the audience.

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

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Recommended Book:

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

Best Way to Contact King:

kingli@illinois.edu

Mentioned Link:

https://medicine.illinois.edu/

Check out this Link:

https://outcomesrocket.health/podcast

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