A DOCTOR WHO MAKES HOUSE CALLS?

MEET KENNETH ALBRECHT, M.D., FOUNDER

OF A.P.P.L.E MEDICAL NETWORK U.S.A.™


Internal Medicine Physician’s Revolutionary

System Is The Result Of His Career-Long Dedication

To The Development of Personalized Cost Effective

Systems of Health Care Delivery


 

Kenneth E. Albrecht, M.D. is an internal medicine physician by training, but his maverick entrepreneurial spirit and success as a true trailblazer in the healthcare industry has always made him pause when people ask the simple question, “What kind of doctor are you?”  


​“It’s hard to tell people that I am a regular doctor,” he says, “so I prefer to say that I am the kind of doctor that most  every patient wants. I then pause....and wait ...to see if they ask, “Why is that?” I then answer, “Because I deliver a very personalized type of health care that helps people become healthy, wealthy and happy.”


“Indeed,” he adds, “our patients become more fully functional and fully alive, both physically and mentally. In addition, I help patients learn how to talk to their doctors and help them to realize the value of what a personalized approach to health care is all about. By giving them a ‘bigger bang for the buck’ from the healthcare system, so to speak, I can significantly impact their physical, mental, social and work environments – leading them to be more fully functional and alive.”


Dr. Albrecht’s path as a “going-against-the-grain” innovator began after his three years of internal medical training at the University of Michigan, after his four year doctor of medicine degree at the University of Cincinnati, that included PhD post graduate work in clinical pharmacology, after his 5 year B.S. degree in biochemistry, mathematics and computers from Northern Illinois University including 1 year at Long Beach California.


His multi-faceted resume includes a total of four inventions, a lengthy stint as a regional Medical Director at one of the largest companies on the planet earth, AT&T, writing five screenplays, serving as a consultant to the film industry, being a licensed pyro technician, and continuing to perform with his band as an accomplished front drummer. He is also a popular speaker. Three of his outstanding presentations include:

 

              1) How to Talk to Your Doctor – So Your Doctor Will Talk To You

              2) How To Live Your Best Life on the Least Amount of Medicine

              3) The Challenges of Healthcare Delivery System.


Near the end of his training at the University of Michigan, while in preparation for becoming a real doctor in the real world, he observed that the majority of people in the real world were dissatisfied with their healthcare. He saw that the overall healthcare system was very disorganized and decided he didn’t want disorganization to negatively affect his career.


“I began taking a look at what it would take to keep patients happy and satisfied with their care,” he says. “One of the biggest problems, for which I later created  A.P.P.L.E. Medical Network- U.S.A, is a solution to the problem of patients feeling lost and treated like a number in the system. I simply saw that patients were not getting the personalization they deserved.  I saw that a lack of personalization, lead to generalization, which in turn lead to patients getting things they didn’t need and not getting the things they did need.


“All in all, I discovered what patients really wanted.  Patients wanted quality time with their doctor,” Dr. Albrecht adds. “Since then I have dedicated my professional life to being part of the solution in planning health care for the future in America. Since the realization that patients needed more quality time with their doctor, it was obvious patients would need more of my time.  I therefore focused on the system designs that allowed me to be as efficient as possible with just about everything that I do.”


Dr. Albrecht’s first innovation was the Albrecht Medical Organizer (AMO), a system design that described the use of a special paper card; you might call it a “cheat sheet.” AMO was a system medical students and doctors could carry around with them in special binder. The system was to help them keep track of important data that clearly laid out what was specifically done and what yet needs to be done for each individual patient.


His second innovative step was based upon his clinical experience in medicine, and seeing the need for computers and software to address the issues of speed and efficiency in the documentation of the medical record; i.e., writing progress note, and using the computer as a communication tool between healthcare providers. Dr. Albrecht always points out that “writing the software only took about 13 years and 5000 hours of writing code, but it was all worth it.” He adds,“I really did not have a lot of faith that anyone was going to write the kind of software a doctor really needed, so why not let it be me. The software program is called IQ Protocol and is currently being used today. Without it I could have never been able to build A.P.P.L.E. Medical, and without it I probably would have left the practice of medicine or would have had a malpractice suit by now.”


Note: Dr. Albrecht has never had a malpractice case or even been mentioned in a malpractice case during his entire career, which is quite rare seeing that his specialty as an internal medicine physician was dealing with the difficult to diagnosis and difficult to manage patient.


“Throughout all of my training,” he says, “I have always been aware of what I call ‘the plight of doctors, nurses and patients alike.’ Accordingly, I felt that I needed to do something about it. I needed to figure out system designs that lend themselves to the kind of quality care that patients, nurses and doctors would appreciate, and at the end of the day, allow physicians to feel they had done a job well done.” All of his innovations and dedication throughout his career in system design finally led to the development of A.P.P.L.E. Medical Network- U.S.A .,  which is a system of healthcare delivery that is cost effective, efficient and most importantly personalized.  Albrecht is the founder of the Chicagoland based A.P.P.L.E. Medical - U.S.A™ (Associated Professionals for Personal Life Enhancement), an innovative office based and community based system of Modern Day House Calls ™.


In order to test his model of healthcare delivery and prove that a personalized approach to healthcare could work, he decided to tackle a medical problem that most patients and doctors ignored or failed at treating.  That medical problem was obesity.  Obesity was one of the early driving forces that inspired Dr. Albrecht to create A.P.P.L.E. The failure rate for treating obesity was too high. The health care system and patients alike needed a system that worked. Accordingly, Dr. Albrecht created a weight loss program called “A.P.P.L.E Medical’s The Healthy Choice” ™ with the tag line “We get to the CORE of the problem”.


He made it his mission to get to the core of the problem as to why people were not successful at losing weight. Once again, by taking the personalized approach to weight loss, he created programs and protocols used to treat obesity and the common problems related to obesity,  high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and the list goes on. A.P.P.L.E.’s programs have had a major impact on patients’ lives. The weight loss program is still a key element in the array of services offered to patients today. The success with treating the problem of obesity, one of the most difficult problems of all in medicine, proved that A.P.P.L.E.’s personalized approached worked, thus solving a major problem in the health care system.


It follows that Dr. Albrecht wanted to replicate A.P.P.L.E. wherever possible in America to benefit both providers and patients alike. However, in the 80’s, the concept of “managed care” entered the national healthcare system.  That brought major disruption throughout the health care system.  Managed care brought major disruption in doctor –patient relationships as well.  The concept of personalized care could hardly be considered because patients were literally forced to change doctors, even from good doctors that patients liked. Insurance companies and employers took control of what doctors patients could choose by limiting  their choices.


“The game at the time was not about delivering personalized care. If making money in medicine was your motive, you made money by signing up the greatest number of patients and delivering the least amount of care. The actual act of seeing patients was actually seen as an expense of doing business. In fact, every day a patient was in the hospital the doctor lost money from his/her hospital fund.  So this set the stage for getting people out of the hospital as quickly as possible. So, you can see that limiting care kept expenses low and profits up. When the lack of individualized and personalized care starts to become ”the norm”, you can see  why, both patients and caring physicians alike, have become dissatisfied with the way healthcare is delivered in America today.”


​By 2002, Dr. Albrecht realized that the future of healthcare may lay in bringing back the classic concept of making house calls. Yes, Dr. Albrecht made house calls and to this day makes house calls. "Modern Day House Calls"™, as he calls it. One of the not-so-obvious reasons why he made house calls was that Dr. Albrecht  would only have to deal with Medicare, and no other managed care insurance companies. Medicare, though previously hated by physicians, was looking a lot better as a partner than dealing with the multiple headaches of multiple managed care insurance companies. 


Dr. Albrecht began to build A.P.P.L.E.Medical Home Health, which in turn led to his building a community based healthcare delivery system throughout Northern Illinois. He has in essence created a “clinic without walls,” with a large team of medical professionals spread out throughout the region, going to private homes, assisted living facilities, retirement communities and other home health care environments including job sites and corporate locations.


To keep communication flowing between team members and for continuity in care,  Dr. Albrecht actually wrote the unique software program that was specifically created to serve as a portal to health care providers on the team.​“When we started doing house calls,” he says, “things started to change”. One of the things I hated most in traditional medicine was the apparent tradition of keeping people waiting in the worst of all places, a waiting room with other sick people. Also, the question of ‘just how long should a visit last?’ became an interesting topic. In a clinic environment, I disliked the pressure put on me when people were waiting to be seen. In the home health environment I realized that if anyone is waiting for me, they are at least waiting for me in the comfort of their own home.


“The challenge of home health care was creating a health care system design that could work in the home environment.  I needed a to create an organization that was  flexible enough, yet organized enough, yet personalized enough to work in different environments be it a home, retirement community or even a work environment. Yet, because of our commitment to personalization, I needed to keep in mind that all people and places we visit have their unique and different personalities. Therefore adjusting our approach was needed for every patient and every environment. All in all, when I looked back on what we have built over the years, I could see that we went from simple house calls to the building of what we now call a community based healthcare delivery system of  ‘Modern Day House Calls™’.  I realized that we actually built a benchmark  model of how future healthcare should be delivered in America today. Be it in a clinic or the home or in the community, the office visit/home health visit of tomorrow is going to be so different than it is today.


The organization’s tagline, “Experience the difference of how a personalized approach to health care should be delivered in America today.” A.P.P.L.E. is the benchmark   of a dynamic full system of health care delivery that includes house calls.  Some of the many benefits to patients and the health care system alike include  saving patients and their families  time and money by reducing the hassles going for an  office visits,, hospital admissions, trips to the lab for blood work and significantly reduces the need to go to the ER.


What became obvious over time was the fact that A.P.P.L.E. patients became healthier, and happier and the medical problems that they had at one time in their life were now starting to go away. For example,Dr. Albrecht says, “We saw this as an opportunity to consider taking medications away from patients who looked as though might no longer need them.   This was the development of A.P.P.L.E.’s Medication Reduction Program. The resulting opportunity to take patents off medications or taper them away not only resulted in patients becoming more functional and fully alive, but also was saving patients on fixed incomes, thousands of dollars.


“Indeed,” he adds, “one of the best things we did at A.P.P.L.E. was the creation of protocols for medication reduction.  The benefits of these protocols are huge in saving patients from drug interaction, the elimination of side effects to medications, and stopping medications that were no longer needed.  Most importantly, patients end up more functional more fully alive.  As we often say, ‘our patients get younger as they get older.’ Through medication reduction we have saved our patients tons of money for which they and their families are most appreciative.


“We practice age management medicine today for our patient’s future of tomorrow. As another example, in A.P.P.L.E. we help people, regardless of their age, become as fully functional and fully alive as possible,” Dr. Albrecht adds. “We have proven that with our approach, elderly patients are getting physically and mentally ‘younger’ as they get older and more alive than expected.   For others, such as baby boomers, their future next wave of medicine, be it anti-aging and age management medicine is already taking place in A.P.P.L.E. Medical today.


“All this being said, the end of a patient visit in A.P.P.L.E. is most always a special time. We enjoy the fact that when we’re done with patient, “we know and the patient knows” they have had an incredible high quality visit. This is one of the rewards one gets from the effort put forth in doing things differently, for” going against the grain”  making A.P.P.L.E. more special  and making things happen differently than most medical practices/ clinics.


“Accordingly, our patients often go out of their way to make us feel appreciated,” he adds. “The family of a longtime patient of ours was so pleased with our care they contributed $5,000 to A.P.P.L.E. Medical. When he passed a few years later, the family sent us an additional contribution of $20,000 as gratitude for our doing a job well done. With that money, we are happily setting up a foundation called The Golden A.P.P.L.E. in honor of their beloved father. I ask myself, how many doctors have ever received that level of appreciation? It lets us know we are doing exactly what we should be doing, offering an unprecedented level of service and showing patients that they truly matter. It's all about them as the patient. We have a special way of understanding where a patient is at with their health now, and we help them understand the multiple options they have for their health tomorrow and in the future.  As we say in A.P.P.L.E., “our job is to help in making that happen.”


Dr. Albrecht shares elements of his fascinating personal journey and healthcare systems expertise in a newly released bestselling book (co-authored by business development expert, author and speaker Brian Tracy) Against The Grain: The World's Leading Experts Reveal How They Achieved Positive Results in a Down Economy! He is the lone M.D. contributor among a group of Celebrity Experts that include top entrepreneurs, mentors and business coaches who have survived and thrived in the midst of the constantly changing marketplace.


​In his chapter, entitled “Save Your Life & Your Money – Your Health in a Down Economy – Medication Reduction,” he emphasizes that the lack of individualized healthcare can lead to mis-diagnoses, improper medications and dosing.  Dr. Albrecht writes: “Without quality doctor-patient time there really is no way to build a meaningful relationship. Without that relationship, there is no way to adequately make a diagnosis or find out what a patient really needs.  Patients deserve a diagnosis that is well discussed and thought out, and a treatment plan that a patient can reasonably understand and meaningfully agree.


Dr. Albrecht always says, “The greatest limiting factor in effectively delivery healthcare is the personality of the patient.  Success is all a matter of the approach. Simply keep it personalized.”​