Dr. Brian Byrd holds strong beliefs. He believes that caring for his patients requires more than just focusing on a medical condition. He believes in a holistic approach — preventive care, routine health maintenance and managing care continuity — to keep patients healthy in body, mind and spirit.
And he believes that managing a patient’s health requires good, basic relationship-building. During a typical patient visit, “we take care of the medicine part, then spend the rest of our visit catching up with each other,” he said.
His strong relationships with patients give insight into their lives and the factors that might influence their health. He said this is essential to providing effective preventive care. And he credits another relationship — the one with Southwestern Health Resources (SWHR) — as the foundation that advances this approach to medicine. “I’m a Southwestern super fan,” he said.
Finding his true calling
Byrd started college intending to earn a business degree and join his parents at their chocolate factory business in Fort Worth. But two things changed his course.
First was an economic recession in the early 1990s. His parents sold the chocolate factory, and “there were no jobs for business majors,” he recalled. The second thing was a knee injury. “I was terrible at basketball, but good at getting hurt.”
That injury opened his eyes to a new possibility. His surgeon, as it turns out, was a relationship-builder, and he influenced Byrd’s change in career path. Over time, Byrd enjoyed getting to know the surgeon, and after his recovery, the two stayed in touch. Byrd even observed his work in the operating room. “So those were the stars that aligned that caused me to sail my ship towards medical school,” he said.
Byrd is founder and owner of Fort Worth-based Texas Family Medicine. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a medical degree from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio. He currently serves as chairman of the Metropolitan Area EMS Authority, the governing board of ambulance service provider MedStar.
Byrd also maintains strong ties to his community, serving as a Fort Worth City Council member. He is active in his church prison ministry, particularly with the children of prisoners. He and his wife have three children.
Support for preventive care
As a physician, Byrd advocates strongly in favor of preventive care, and SWHR has been a valuable partner. The support and resources that SWHR provides are major reasons why he said he is excited to be part of its physician network.
“Just yesterday, I received a list of patients who had missed mammograms, colonoscopies or other important screenings because of the (COVID-19) pandemic,” he said. “That information enabled us to contact each individual to schedule their screenings before the end of the quarter.”
Because of today’s care and payment complexities, we all need to be part of a team in taking care of our patients.
This kind of data — and the ability to use it for meaningful action — is essential for effective preventive care across large patient populations, Byrd explained. But the necessary technology and technical expertise aren’t always available within an individual or group practice.
“Because of today’s care and payment complexities, we all need to be part of a team in taking care of our patients. If we try to just do it ourselves, we’re not going to be as good,” he said.
“If you are part of the Southwestern Health team, you can be even better at taking care of your patients.”