How Physicians Are Embracing Preventative Care

Joe Cantlupe, January 6, 2011

On the face of it, it almost sounds like some CIA operation: "The Proactive Office Encounter Approach."

But it's not clandestine, and there's the rub. The Southern California Permanente Medical Group's patient care system, dubbed POE, appears to reflect what healthcare reform is all about, with designs on improving quality and establishing data to back up what they do, working toward a clean slate of transparency.

The POE system allows physicians to begin focusing on preventative and chronic care needs of patients almost as soon the patients step inside the door of their offices, whether the conditions were reasons behind the visit or not. The system uses, in the medical world parlance, "standardized workflows" and "sophisticated information technology" to achieve its outcomes. Whatever The Southern California Permanente Medical Group calls it, the system is about carrying out preventative care.

Since its inception, POE has contributed to sharp improvement in the group's clinical quality performance, in areas ranging from colorectal screening to blood pressure control, says Michael Kanter, MD, regional medical director of quality and clinical analysis for The Southern California Permanente Medical Group. It is the physician's group for Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California.

Clinicians, labor partners, and health care professionals and administrators work collaboratively to develop the process, in which electronic medical records are important components. Even before a patient's visit to the physician's office, staff works to identify "gaps in care" for particular patients as their histories become better known.

Joe Cantlupe Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.Twitter

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