An initiative that aims to boost primary care delivery performance emphasizes efficiency and adaptability among providers.
"This isn't just a project; it's a transformation," says Sara Lander, MD, internist at Internal Medicine of St. Luke's in Chesterfield, MO, one of three sites selected by the Peterson Center on Healthcare to participate in an initiative to test a high-performance model for primary care delivery.
Launched last spring, the nonprofit Peterson Center, which describes itself as an "organization dedicated to making higher quality, more affordable healthcare a reality for all Americans," began working with three average-performing primary care practices.
In its Limited Market Test, Peterson faculty and other experts stay in close contact with the groups to help them apply a model derived from Stanford University's Clinical Excellence Research Center.
The idea is that once the test practices refine the model to suit their practice and patient needs, it will be easier and faster to replicate the model in more groups during ensuing phases of the project.
So far, the work of practice transformation has been intense but rewarding, says Lander, St. Luke's co-clinical lead for the project.
"We're doing this not just for Peterson, but we're doing this for ourselves and we're doing this for the long-term outcome," she says. "It's incredible what we've accomplished in the first six months."
The Gift of Efficiency
The model consists of 22 actionable modules based on 10 key characteristics of high-value providers, such as conscientious conservation, upshifted staff roles, and responsible in-sourcing.
Some of the most impactful changes for St. Luke's surround practice and staff efficiency. For example, a new medical assistant (MA) prep process gives MAs a larger role in filling gaps in care, thereby streamlining physicians' day and allowing them to spend more time on medical care.
Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.