Dr. Henry Buchwald Discusses His New Book “Healthcare Upside Down”

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World-renowned surgeon, author, professor and patient healthcare advocate, Henry Buchwald, MD, PhD, joins the Healthcare Experience Matters podcast this week.

Dr. Buchwald is currently Professor Emeritus of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

In his new book, Healthcare Upside Down: A Critical Examination of Policy and Practice, Dr. Buchwald contends that the healthcare system in the United States has to do better. He asserts that it has transformed into an expensive and impersonal structure, failing to prioritize the best interests of both the nation and the individuals it aims to heal.

Henry Buchwald, MD, PhD, is a revered figure in medicine, celebrated for his extensive contributions as a doctor, surgeon, educator, healthcare pioneer, and patient advocate spanning over 60 years.

Dr. Buchwald’s educational journey began with a B.A. from Columbia College, followed by an M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, where he graduated at the top of his class in both instances.

His illustrious career also includes two years of service as the Chief Base Flight Surgeon for the Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, demonstrating his commitment to medical service.

He completed his residency training at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, earning an M.S. in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Surgery. Since 1966, he has served as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota.

Throughout his career, Dr. Buchwald has been awarded numerous research grants, including those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other organizations.

Notably, he acted as the Principal Investigator for a groundbreaking 20-year program known as the Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias, which conducted the first randomized clinical trial demonstrating the efficacy of partial ileal bypass surgery in reducing cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease, thereby extending overall life expectancy.

Recognized as a pioneer in bariatric surgery, Dr. Buchwald is an advocate for the concept of metabolic surgery and has made significant contributions to the field. His innovative mindset is further evident in his 20 patents for bioengineering devices, such as the first implantable infusion pump used for insulin delivery and continuous chemotherapy administration.

Beyond his clinical accomplishments, Dr. Buchwald is highly regarded as a teacher and educator, consistently nurturing the next generation of medical professionals.

In his book, Dr. Buchwald delves into the realm of healthcare statistics and addresses what he refers to as a broken doctor/patient relationship in urgent need of repair. Additionally, he shares his insights on the most promising ways to turn healthcare right side up.  

The erosion of the doctor-patient relationship emerges as a major concern in Dr. Buchwald’s book. In the past, patients entrusted their well-being to a specific doctor who provided personalized care. However, patients often now face a revolving door of doctors, with little continuity or familiarity with an emphasis on efficiency over personalized care.

Dr. Buchwald voices concerns about the fading investment in independent research, which he believes is essential for driving innovation and advancements. He advocates for a shift in focus and a reversal of today’s status quo, which prioritizes cost-cutting over the pursuit of knowledge and improved patient outcomes.

Finally, Dr. Buchwald offers thoughts on the areas in which future healthcare efforts can most fruitfully be expended. The book also examines the variety of ways in which we can turn the current healthcare system right-side up to serve patients, now and in the future.

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Meet Dr. Henry Buchwald

World-renowned surgeon, author, professor and patient healthcare advocate. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Connect with Dr. Henry Buchwald