Faculty Spotlight: John J. Paat, MD

Friday, August 8, 2014

Paat HeadshotJohn J. Paat, MD, is the focus of this week's faculty spotlight. Paat recently returned to the Division after a stint at the Mayo Clinic. In this article he talks about working as the Medical Director of the Private Diagnostic Clinics, the concierge model of healthcare, and how Duke has changed since the 1990s.

How long have you been at Duke? How long have you been at the Division?

This is my second stint as a Duke faculty member. I was here from 1990 to 1999. I then left for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where I stayed until about 3 years ago. It was good to be able to go to another institution and get a different perspective on the practice of medicine.

I started at the VA and my first practice at Duke in the 1990s was at the former Brownstone Hotel where the Hock building is now located. During that time, GIM opened up clinics at Pickett Road, Roxboro Road, and Herndon Road (now Southpoint). We went through a significant clinical expansion our first experience with managed care. It was exciting to be part of those experiences.

Coming back to Duke to work for the Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC) as Medical Director was a great opportunity to build on my experience and try to improve patient care. Working with the PDC gives me a better understanding of all of the pressures we face practicing medicine and how a large group practice can work.

Where do you typically work? does a normal day for you look like? 

I spend 20 percent of my practice at the Duke Center for Living, where I am part of the Duke Signature Care concierge practice. I believe that there will be continued interest and growth in the concierge model for both patients and physicians. It’s been a very successful model for patents who want both a certain level of service and to maintain a relationship with their physician. We’re two years into this experiment, and it’s been successful so far. We continue to look at opportunities and models to care for patients.

I also spend time at the Duke Outpatient Clinic. I enjoy that--I get to teach and learn from interns and medical residents who are coming through. That work helps me provide a perspective to the housestaff to see other models of practice outside of the hospital.

The rest of my time is spent in administration. As medical director of the Private Diagnostic Clinic, I’m tasked with quality and safety reporting and improvement, preparedness, and other practice responsibilities. For the last few years we have been working to improve the clinical application of Maestro as well as other tasks like using electronic records to take care of our patients.

What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed coming back to Duke since you worked here in the 1990s?
What's easiest to notice is what’s been the same. There are still a lot of the same great people at Duke even as the environment has continued to change. Meanwhile a lot has changed with respect to health care. The triangle is very competitive market. A lot of the things I see here are the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s happening nationwide. It will be interesting to see where things go in the next five years.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of work?
My wife and I are facing an empty nest since our youngest child just graduated from college. One hobby that we had for 30 years and that we would love to continue is collecting art. We already have a fairly sizeable of Northwest Native American art. We must have 50 or 60 masks as well as a substantial collection of prints that we are able to share and enjoy.