Dr. Scott Shepherd is joining the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Systems Innovation (CHSI) as the group’s first medical director. Shepherd will be leading CHSI’s care delivery projects which will be creating and testing solutions to some of rural health’s most entrenched problems.
A 2004 OSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, Shepherd earned his medical degree from the OSU Center for Health Sciences in 2008 and completed the internal medicine and pediatrics residency program from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa School of Community Medicine in 2012.
“We are ecstatic to be able to attract such a high quality physician to CHSI, validating the center’s innovation model focused on improving rural and Native American health care,” said William D. Paiva, executive director for the Center for Health Systems Innovation. “From the very first meeting it was clear that Dr. Shepherd has a passion of health care innovation.”
CHSI is transforming health care through creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The center’s focus is on rural health innovation, patient care innovation, and data analytics. It operates at the crossroads of the OSU Spears School of Business and the OSU Center for Health Sciences, positioning itself to innovate both clinical models and business models.
Shepherd, who spent his third and fourth years of medical school focusing on health care in a rural setting, is excited to be joining the Center. He brings a passion for improved rural health care, expert insights necessary for health care database research, and a drive to create and implement solutions.
“The work we’re doing at the Center is important because we’re bringing new ideas to rural health care,” said Shepherd. “The type of practice you see in a rural setting is often one without much backup. People who are working in large urban areas have specialists that are easily available anytime. When you are in a rural setting you can often feel that you are on an island all by yourself. What we’re trying to do is bring more tools and easier access to specialty care to these rural areas.”
A hospitalist at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa since 2012, Shepherd believes the Center is going to make an impact on rural health care throughout Oklahoma.
“I frequently see the frustration that having to go so far from home to receive the appropriate medical care causes. I think one of the things that I’m bringing to the center is an understanding of what those patients and their families want, and I’m hoping to use those ideas in what we’re trying to develop and bring to the rural communities,” said Shepherd, who focuses on cardiovascular, mental health, and diabetic care.
“My goal for the Center is for us to affect rural health care in a way that it has never been affected. I think there is huge room for improvement, to bring the availability for specialty care, the availability of mental health care to the small communities all over Oklahoma. I think it’s a model that we can potentially in the future use in many other states all over the country.”
Additionally, Shepherd will provide medical consultation for the data analytic research CHSI conducts mining the Health Facts database provided to CHSI by Cerner Corp. The database is one of the largest HIPAA-compliant relational databases in existence. It includes electronic medical records from over 50 million patients and hundreds of hospitals covering a 14-year period. CHSI will use the database as part of its predictive medicine work to improve operational, clinical and financial outcomes in health care.