In an effort to provide our patients the best possible care, FPG has a Quality Improvement (QI) team that meets every week to discuss ways to improve patient care. The QI team is comprised of a core group that includes a medical provider, psychologist, dietitian, practice manager, and 2 patient partners. Our two patient partners are actual patients of our practice that have volunteered their time to help us make FPG a great place to receive care.
The core QI team includes: Dr. Laura Zucker, Dr. Stephanie Power, Dietitian Kerri Hawkins, Practice Manager Jennifer Hillery, Patient Partner Wendi Quest, and Patient Partner Howard Cloth.
In addition to the core team, we also have a rotating team that spends a month participating in the QI team meetings. This rotating team helps us to insure that every staff member at FPG is aware of the important work we are doing to improve patient care. Each month the rotating team includes a medical provider, medical assistant, and administrative assistant.
The goal of the QI team is to find innovative ways to improve primary care. Our focus is on team based care, management and prevention of chronic illness, management of patients with multiple, complex illnesses, and patient empowerment and behavior change.
Below is a list of some of the projects we have been working on at FPG:
1. Patient population registries
A population registry is essentially a list of patients categorized by a disease state or particular issue (e.g., depression, diabetes, needs colonoscopy). Registries are very important because they help the medical team insure that they are providing the best, evidenced-based care to every patient that has that issue. You may have noticed that we have been reaching out to you more this year to take care of problems like your diabetes or to schedule a mammogram. Well, registries help us to keep track of and coordinate all of this important information. It is an important tool that we use to be sure no patient slips through the cracks.
A major undertaking at FPG has been reorganizing our staff in to care teams. You can read more about teams and the benefits they offer here (Your Medical Team).
3. Transition of Care Protocol
In the past when patients would be discharged from the hospital, their primary care provider was often un aware unless the patient called the office. Now that is different. We have been working hard with Mt. Auburn Hospital to have a list sent to us every day that one of our patients is discharged. You may have noticed that we try to call you within 2 days of being discharged from the hospital and offer you an appointment with your primary care provider. This visit is meant to reduce the chance that you could end up back in the hospital.
4. Integrating behavioral health care
We realize that it is shortsighted to only take care of a patient’s medical problems without recognizing the psychological and social issues that may accompany them. In order to provide the best care, we need to focus on both mind and body. That’s why we hired a psychologist and a social worker. Offering behavioral health services in a primary care office setting is an innovative care model. We hope that it helps to reduce stigma and barriers for all of our patients.
5. Access to care
We are trying to find ways to make it easier for you to make appointments with your provider when you need it. We have been making many changes in this area, including reorganizing to teams, hiring physician assistants to share care, using the patient portal to interact with our patients at a time that is convenient for them, offering evening and Saturday hours, walk in clinic M-F 5-6 PM, and group visits.
This is one of our most exciting innovations. A scribe is a person trained to take notes for the medical provider during an office visit. This allows your provider to focus on you while the scribe documents the information in your medical chart. Many of our patients have found this to be a valuable addition to their care because the provider cancan be more engaged with the patient. Our providers have enjoyed working with scribes as it enhances their effectiveness and efficiency, all to their patients’ benefit.
7. Medication reconciliation
We want to make sure that you are taking all your medications as prescribed and that we are aware of what you are taking. Having accurate information helps us to provide you the level of care you expect from us and reduces the chance that you will have drug interactions. We have been working as a team to determine the best way to do this. You may have noticed that the medical assistant and provider will review your medication list with you and/or that we ask you bring all of your medications in a bag to the visit so that we can review them in person.
8. Outstanding labs and diagnostic tests
When we schedule a test or procedure it is because we think it is in your best interest. For a variety of reasons these tests are not always completed despite our best intentions. Therefore, we have been working as a team to find ways to prevent these important tests from being missed. You may have noticed that we are calling you more frequently to come in for blood work or to help you reschedule your missed colonoscopy.
9. Waiting room and patient newsletter
We want to make sure that we are always communicating important information to our patients in a way that is helpful and convenient for you. One step toward achieving this goal is by placing a monitor in the waiting room. The monitor is routinely updated with timely, relevant information. We also send out a quarterly patient e-newsletter right to your inbox. You can sign up for the newsletter here.
This is just a sample of the many projects the QI team has been focusing on since its inception. We hope it gives you a sense of the ways we care for you even when you are not in for a visit. If you ever have questions about the QI team or its work, or you would like to make a suggestion, just let us know the next time you are in the office.