“This is a reminder for Travis Dent that your physical with your doctor is at 8:00 tomorrow morning. Please be sure to fast for 12 hours prior to your appointment and call us in advance should you need to reschedule.”

This is the voicemail that was waiting for me when I got to the office on Tuesday morning, reminding me of my upcoming annual physical with my long-time primary care physician. I only give you a recap of my weekly voicemail log as this particular message has relevance to the rest of my story.

First, if you work with, know, are friends with, or have simply spent longer than five minutes with a Holmes Murphy Holmie, you know we take health seriously. It’s the business we’re in, it’s what we’re passionate about, and it’s where we see some of our most progressive clients making the biggest impact. At the core of this focus on health is a relationship with the right primary care physician. Not only do we recommend it, we follow those same guidelines. It’s part of our wellbeing program, and Holmies are incented to find and foster this relationship with a quality primary care provider to promote their health and preserve their time with family, friends, and the people in their lives who matter most.

All of that long intro to say, this is not a blog about Holmes Murphy’s wellbeing program. While crucial to our success and the happiness of our employees, this is a blog about what happened to me while in my annual physical. No, I’m not going to get weird here and overshare on any “paper gown opened at the wrong time” stories. This is a blog about a conversation I had with my physician during my physical.

Fully transparency, my physician is a relative by marriage and someone whom I’ve known for many years. Permanently based in Dallas, he’s seen medicine and the business of healthcare evolve significantly during his 30 years in private practice. A line in my last sentence “private practice” is where our conversation started and what got me thinking about the subject for this blog. As we were wrapping up the physical and he was sending me off to get my blood work, he let me know he was joining an Accountable Care Organization “ACO” run by a local hospital. He would be contracted directly with them, and his incentive structure would now be based on patient outcomes and tracked directly through this hospital arrangement.

Knowing what I do for a living, he asked my opinion about this arrangement and then asked the broader, if not daunting question of where I thought healthcare was going. Blog sidebar: The rest of my conversation with my PCP lasted about 30 minutes and while a great dialogue, it is far too lengthy to include (and bore you with) here.

What I can share is that we ended our conversation with me referring to our Holmes Murphy President Den Bishop’s upcoming book, “A Voter’s Guide to Healthcare.” I’ve worked with Den for the better part of my career and evolved my opinion on him from the leader of our Employee Benefits practice to that of a full-blown healthcare economist. He sees things others don’t and has a true gift for making the complex simple. I let my doctor know that Den would do his best in this book to be an equal opportunity offender and blaze through both sides of political opinion and rhetoric to get to the real issues facing Americans and our economy with healthcare in its current state. Further, he’d talk about the issues voters should be focusing on and where several of the paths could lead if popular buzz words like “single payer” and “HRA expansion” come to fruition.

While not uncommon for me to leave my doctor’s office with some homework, it usually focuses on losing a few pounds or cutting back in a key area like, say, my love for sweets. That said, my homework from my routine annual exam yesterday was a bit different: a copy of Den’s book. My physician was fascinated by the view of healthcare and the evolution beyond his private practice. Further, he wanted to expand his knowledge on the different interests involved in the dialogue ranging from the government, to pharma and insurance companies, to employers who are currently footing the bill. So, the patient has become the prescriber (so to speak), and I’ll be sitting down for coffee soon with my doc for a book report on “A Voter’s Guide to Healthcare.”

Summarizing my recent knowledge from this year’s annual physical: eat your vegetables, schedule your next regular exam, and get a copy of Den’s new book…it’s going to be a good one.