Saint Luke’s Innovation Week Profile: Dr. John Spertus
"We signed up to be physicians, nurses, and advanced practitioners because we had a calling to help patients do better. That's what gets me up in the morning."
Dr. John Spertus didn't choose medicine; medicine chose him.
"We signed up to be physicians, nurses, and advanced practitioners because we had a calling to help patients do better," he said. "That's what gets me up in the morning."
Dr. Spertus, fondly known today as the “Father of Patient-Centered Medicine,” is Clinical Director of Outcomes Research at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute and the Lauer Missouri Endowed Chair and Professor of Medicine at UMKC.
The American Heart Association awarded Dr. Spertus the Distinguished Scientist Award in 2018. He has also received the AHA Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Lifetime Achievement Award and has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thomson Reuters.
Although he was always interested in the sciences, Dr. Spertus first knew he wanted to make a lasting contribution in the field of research during his undergrad years at Tufts University in Boston. He graduated from the UCSF School of Medicine and went on to the University of Washington, where he was Chief Resident and earned his Master’s in Public Health. It was there he developed a passion for improving patient-centered care.
Researchers across the world consistently refer to his studies, placing him in the top 1% of all authors cited in research. He developed the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ), which is used by the FDA and across the globe as a standard for measuring how new valve disease therapies help patients.
But out of his innumerable professional achievements, he is most proud of being part of a community of colleagues supporting each other on a joint mission to improve care. Looking down the road, Dr. Spertus is most excited about future collaborative efforts in Kansas City to improve the value of health care for all.
“Cost undermines equity, affordability, and access to health care--that's one of the real challenges," he said. "We're trying to figure out how we can share strategies to improve patient outcomes and patient experiences at a lower cost. If we can make a meaningful step in that direction, no other city or region in the country has that kind of collaborative spirit and approach. That would be really exciting to help foster in this region.”