Member of the Month: Kevin P. Spencer, M.D.

Tags: membership, member of the month, spencer, hit, ehr, family medicine

Member of the Month: Kevin P. Spencer, M.D.

Physician uses innovation and technology to deliver better patient care

posted 08.16.11

Kevin P. Spencer, M.D., is a private practice physician and partner with Premier Family Physicians in Austin. Expanding from the original location in South Austin, PFP has opened two new satellite offices in the surrounding area.

Dr. Spencer received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., where he attended on a football scholarship. He was awarded his medical degree by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and completed his family medicine residency at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C.

After residency, Dr. Spencer worked in an urban, inner-city practice, serving as a faculty mentor for family medicine residents. He says the experience has driven him to search for methods where he can care for underserved patients in the private practice model.

In his spare time, he enjoys adventure travel, running marathons, and medical mission trips. He and his wife, Anne, also a family physician, have twin daughters, Laura and Rachel.

Why did you choose family medicine and what’s your favorite aspect of it? I enjoy the challenge of being the patient’s primary advocate and point of entry into the health care system. I really like to solve the clinical problem, make decisions, execute a plan, and pull in the best resource at the best price point to meet the patient’s needs. It is a great puzzle that family practice doctors are best trained to solve. I am intrigued by all facets of our job.

How would you define the mission of your practice? Amidst great momentum for change in the U.S. health care delivery system and underlying financial structure, we seek to establish and expand the central role of the family physician as THE access point for a continuum of quality and cost-effective care. We are bringing together skilled and compassionate physicians and leveraging the best people, technology, and processes to ensure access, quality outcomes, and continuous improvement for patients.

Do you have any advice for new family physicians transitioning from residency into practice? I would encourage them to seek out physician leaders in our specialty as they consider practice opportunities. There is a lot of noise out there, but with leadership and patient care at the center, family medicine can and should shape the delivery model toward best outcomes at the best price point.

What role does HIT play in your practice? Health information technology plays a prominent role in our organization. We have embraced technology to allow us to utilize our EHR to achieve true “meaningful use.” Yes, we received the incentive payment, but more importantly, we are able to use our EHR to achieve better outcomes, measure these outcomes, and then change our processes to serve patients even better. This is a culture we are creating that has been exciting to our doctors and staff.

Do you see changes on the horizon for family medicine? Please explain. I do see change for both family medicine and, really, all of health care. It is clear that family medicine can and will be the core foundation of a delivery system where data measurements, outcomes, cost, and most importantly, the patient experience are the defining elements.

Why is it important for me to be a member of AAFP and TAFP? My memberships in AAFP and TAFP are becoming increasingly more important. I have always valued the continuing medical education opportunities. Now, more than ever, the advocacy and representation that they provide on the local, state, and national levels are vital to family medicine’s role and opportunity in this changing health care environment.

TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in QuickInfo and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month, nominate the physician by sending his or her name, phone number, and e-mail address to View past Members of the Month here.