Michael Hochman, MD, MPH, is an internal medicine physician at Keck Medicine of USC with a research interest in improving health care system models.
As director of the USC Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation, Dr. Hochman leads the mission to develop models that are more efficient and allow for the delivery of higher quality care for patients. Here’s what you won’t find on his resume.
His interest in science and passion for helping others led him to medicine.
“I knew I liked science and figuring out how things worked. I wanted to do something that combined those interests. In college, I had the opportunity to volunteer in a school in an inner-city community in New Jersey. I realized then that I wanted a career where I could help people. It seemed that medicine would be a good fit for all of those things.”
He was almost a journalist.
“I’ve always had an interest in writing. For a while, I considered journalism. I have written a couple of books, so I’ve been able to keep that interest. I also took a year off from medical school, and I wrote for The Boston Globe’s health section.”
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He’s always on the move.
“I’m a father of three from Massachusetts. Some of the things on my bucket list include running a mile in under five minutes — my best is 5:04. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, and I’d love to attend a Super Bowl game.”
The opportunity to connect with people inspires him to be the best physician he can be.
“Helping people who are going through a challenging health situation wakes me up in the morning. I aim to make those situations a little bit easier for my patients. Obviously, the best scenario is when you’re able to cure a problem. In many cases, even just communicating with people can make what they’re dealing with a little bit better.”
Advancements in clinical research methodologies have led to better patient care.
“We want to be more thoughtful about how we care for patients. As researchers, we have been able to question established medical practices over the last 10 years. As a result, we’ve been able to stop doing certain things that are potentially harmful to people. For example, we’ve learned that putting heart catheters in very sick patients in the intensive care unit is not effective. Because of research, we’re able to spare people that invasive intervention.”
He hopes to make USC a leader in studying health care systems.
“At the USC Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation, we are focusing on innovation in health care. The purpose of the center is to test out different care models that translate to better outcomes for patients. There has been a big shift in primary care toward a more team-based approach. There is some early evidence that this approach delivers higher quality care for patients and does so more efficiently. With the USC Gehr Family Center, we hope to continue to develop and refine models such as these.”
Seeing patients is his favorite part of the week.
“I think I’m someone who is easy to talk to. I think it’s really important for doctors to understand the goals and values of their patients to help guide them to make the best decision. I believe in presenting options to patients but to do so in a way that helps guide them.”
Dr. Hochman is an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Click here to view Dr. Hochman’s full biography.