Data drive the innovations, which is why Tedeschi's Marlton-based businesses provide a perfect laboratory. Caring for 1.7 million patients, most of the 1,000 affiliated doctors and nurse practitioners share a computerized medical-record system.
Question: How do you see the Affordable Care Act?
Answer: I think it was a wake-up call that we could no longer afford the medicine that we were delivering, but a lot of the cost was from waste, improper procedures. We needed to straighten out where we had gotten in medicine.
Q: When patients are released from the hospital, you schedule them for a doctor's visit within 48 hours. Nurses and health workers frequently call these patients to check on them. Why?
A: You have one in four patients who are discharged from a hospital readmitted in 30 days. That's horrible. They may not be taking their medicine. They may not have understood the instructions. They didn't get a checkup after they got out of the hospital. But we make those arrangements. Our recidivism rate as a company was about 22 percent. We have reduced that in 11/2 years to 7 percent.
Q: You have health workers calling patients. What surprised you the most?
A: The compliance of patients taking medicine is so bad. It was shocking.
Q: You loved doctoring, yet you haven't seen a patient in five years. How has that been?
A: It was the biggest adjustment of my life. I absolutely loved my career. I loved being part of families. I'm a baby freak, so I love hugging them and kissing them. It got a little trickier as time went on, because parents said, "Oh my God." But I can't help it.
Q: Why did you start these management businesses?
A: It made me unhappy that doctors were so unhappy being doctors. [They] can't stand the business of medicine.
Q: What do you mean?
A: The collection process, malpractice - all the business aspects of running an office. Doctors are extraordinarily overwhelmed. They just want to be good doctors and they want all this stuff removed from their lives.
Q: Can doctors have a work-life balance?
A: Forget the business and do what's right medically. You are home when you've done the job. Young doctors . . . want a home life, but the profession has certain demands and you owe that to the people you are caring for.
Q: How do you balance it?
A: I don't want to call myself a workaholic because I'm not. I don't have hobbies. I'm not a golfer. I don't have an obsessive nature, but I like order. If you came back tonight, there would not be one paper on my desk.
Q: Any plans to retire?
A: I doubt it. My mother drove to Philadelphia to work every day at age 91.
DR. JOHN TEDESCHI
Title: Founder, chief executive Advocare L.L.C. and Continuum Health Alliance L.L.C.
Diplomas: Camden Catholic High School; Villanova University, biology; Creighton University School of Medicine.
Family: Wife, Geraldine; children, John, 46, Elizabeth, 40.
Resumé: Longtime pediatrician, acted as medical director of US Healthcare HMO of New Jersey, led medical staffs at Garden State Community Hospital, Virtua Health, West Jersey Hospital-Voorhees.
Unexpected: Thinks astrology helps in understanding people.
His sign: Cancer.
COMPANIES HE OWNS
Advocare L.L.C.: Physician-owned medical group for 600 doctors and nurse practitioners.
Continuum Health Alliance L.L.C.: Practice management and population health management services.
Main office: Marlton.
Dr. John Tedeschi on how complaints built his business.