5 questions for Dale Owen
Dr. Dale Owen serves as the leader and CEO of Tryon Medical Partners, the Charlotte region’s largest independent medical practice. It brings together 64 internal medicine physicians and 25 specialists covering six specialty areas, including cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, pulmonary and sleep medicine. Tryon Medical Partners began operations on September 5, 2018, with eight medical clinics throughout the Charlotte region totaling more than 160,000 square feet. The practice currently serves more than 100,000 patients.
In June 2019, Tryon Medical Partners announced “Tryon Direct,” a new division of Tryon Medical Partners that offers self-insured businesses an opportunity to leverage Tryon’s Primary Care physicians to reduce their overall health care costs by 15-25% by eliminating unnecessary specialist and hospital visits.
Prior to founding Tryon Medical Partners, Owen served as an internist from 1991 to 2003 for Mecklenburg Medical Group. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray Medical School. Owen began practicing medicine in 1986, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine-Cardiovascular Disease and Nuclear Cardiology. In addition to leading Tryon Medical Partners, Owen continues to practice cardiology, treating patients with a range of heart issues and conditions.
What do you like best about your job?
I have been a doctor for more than 30 years, and I am still gratified every day when I interact with patients. As a cardiologist, most of my patients are older, and many of them have been with our practice for decades. We have a close bond, and they have been very supportive of Tryon Medical Partners since we announced plans to become an independent practice in April 2018.
I also enjoy helping our team turn challenges into new opportunities for our practice — and being in charge of our destiny vs. being overseen by a large hospital bureaucracy. There is so much more we can do to improve health care when doctors return to the primary reason why they got into medicine, which is to serve patients.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the solidarity Tryon Medical doctors have shown each other since we announced plans to become independent last year and the energy I get from the medical professionals who help us serve our patients. We have faced uncertain times together as we opened up eight new clinics and accepted more than 100,000 patients. It’s exciting to consider our opportunities to better serve patients in the future.
Who should we be paying attention to?
Health care leaders and policymakers need to acknowledge that hospital-controlled health care systems are needlessly inefficient and not unsustainable. Our nation’s health care costs are far too high for the outcomes we achieve, the incentives for excessive tests, drugs and treatments are counterproductive, and we must look at things differently if we are to expect better results.
I am convinced any new approaches to health care must have a foundation of the “doctor-patient relationship” if we are to achieve meaningful solutions to the nation’s health care crisis.
What was your biggest challenge this week?
Our biggest challenge the past week represented a great opportunity for our patients. We announced “Tryon Direct” — a new offering that will enable the Charlotte region’s self-insured businesses to reduce their overall health care costs by 15- 25% or more. Our Tryon Direct model leverages our 64 primary care doctors, who are the “health care quarterback” for their patients.
By giving Tryon Direct patients unlimited access and same day appointments with their primary care doctors, we will be able to significantly cut referrals to specialists and overall health care costs. Its an offer to businesses that represents our stepping back and looking at things differently and putting the patient and their primary care doctor in driver seat for health care management.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
I love spending time on the Outer Banks with my wife and three kids. There is something soulful and spiritual about being at the beach or on the water. It clears my mind and helps keep life in perspective.