New Releases

Back to Balance: The Art, Science, and Business of Medicine

September 27, 2017


Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, President and CEO of MGMA, provides the tools the health care industry needs to bring the art, science, and business of medicine back into balance.

“A highly personal account, conveyed through storytelling that is both effective and accessible . . . Back to Balance is an insightful and delightful read describing the critical need for enhancing the art of medicine in providing health care to the nation.”

—James L. Madara, MD, CEO, American Medical Association


“Through storytelling, insight, and an appropriate dose of irreverence, Fischer-Wright asks the questions that will compassionately transform health care to its full potential—for everyone.”

—Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach and Coauthor of The Success Principles



Back to Balance by Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright Presents Bold New Vision To Transform The Practice of Medicine

American health care is on life support. The average physician spends two hours on paperwork for every hour spent with patients. One in twenty patients is misdiagnosed daily. No wonder only thirty-four percent of Americans have “great confidence” in the leaders of the medical profession, says Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, President and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association—which represents over 40,000 members providing almost half of the health care delivered in the United States.

“We have lost our focus on strengthening the one thing that has always produced healthier patients, happier doctors, and better results: namely, strong relationships between patients and physicians, informed by smart science and enabled by good business,” she explains in her new book, Back to Balance: The Art, Science, and Business of Medicine. In this informative and at times irreverent account, Fischer-Wright draws on decades of research, personal stories, and the successes of cutting edge medical practices to show how the business and science of medicine have inadvertently conspired to prevent patients and providers from doing the things people do naturally to get excellent results.

The practice of medicine has long been comprised of three parts, Fischer-Wright says: the business of medicine (how we pay), the science of medicine (how we treat), and the art of medicine (how we care). Decades of medical research has proven that if patients are going to follow the advice of their doctors, theyve got to feel listened to, understood, and cared for. The problem is that doctors cannot provide the compassionate care that people need, if they are required to spend twice as much time on paperwork as they are with their patients. The more we try to dictate the behavior of healers with dozens of directives and protocols, the more we turn what has been the most human part of medicine into something unnatural and overbearing, with catastrophic results.

Having been a practicing physician, a chief medical officer, the wife of a cancer survivor, and the daughter of a chronically ill father, Fischer-Wright brings her unique voice, distinctive sense of humor, and personal perspective to this universal challenge. She also brings optimism. “In every part of America today, there are medical practices that are providing a glimpse at a better path forward—proving that we can bring health care back into balance to benefit us all,” she writes.

Fischer-Wright contends that there are five paradigm shifts that must be made to move American health care past the mediocrity we are settling for today if we want to achieve excellence once again. These shifts are:

From “Money as an incentive” to “Time as an incentive” | Insurers and policymakers rely too heavily on complex compensation schemes. In the business of health, the most valuable commodity is not money. It is the time to offer preventative care, diagnose disease, and do the work of healing people. Today, fewer than one in seven doctors has the time to achieve all that he or she wants to achieve during the day.

From “More complexity” to “More simplicity” | Health care, which is second only to nuclear energy as the most complex and regulated industry in America, is stuck in its ways. For example, the industry has failed to establish basic, common standards for electronic health records, so they work in every doctors office. Other industries have succeeded by taking complexity out of the equation. Health care can, too.

From “More metrics” to “More relationships” | Its time to recognize that building trust is as important as tracking metrics, and that the latter too often gets in the way of the former. Today, tracking and reporting metrics saps four hours of a doctors day, eight hours of a care teams day, and $8 billion of Americas annual health spending—preventing physicians and patients from building relationships that are, in all ways, healthy.

From “Process-driven” to “Outcome-driven” | Its easy to obsess over accomplishing a defined set of tasks. Its even easier to forget how those tasks came to be in the first place. Along the way, we lose track of whats really important: are we doing the right things that drive the right results? Health care has a great deal to learn from human-centered design techniques that put the focus on outcomes before processes.

From “Zero-sum (I win, you lose)” to “Non-zero-sum (we all win)” | Health care is an industry in which each side should be able to win together—and in fact can only win together. As a nation, we have to make the same choice that Andy Dufresne made in The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Engaging, funny, and immensely readable—with pop culture references ranging from South Park to Jurassic Park to Sex in the City—Back to Balance provides the tools the health care industry needs to bring the art, science, and business of medicine back into balance.



HALEE FISCHER-WRIGHT, who received her M.D. from the University of Colorado, is a nationally recognized physician leader, healthcare executive, and former business consultant, whose work focuses on innovation and creating cultures of excellence. Dr. Fischer-Wright is president and CEO of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and is the co-author of Tribal Leadership, a New York Times bestseller. Prior to assuming her current role, she was a practicing physician, management consultant in multiple industries, president of Rose Medical Group, and chief medical officer within Centura Health. She is the recipient of multiple national awards for leadership in innovation, healthcare, business, and womens leadership. Dr. Fischer-Wright holds a bachelors degree from the University of Colorado, a masters degree in medical management from the University of Southern California, and a certificate in executive leadership coaching from Georgetown University. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.

We have updated our privacy policy. Click here to read our full policy.