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Turning Best Practices into Common Practices

June 28th, 2017

I was heartened to have some of my physician organization colleagues join me at an event that MedNetOne hosted on May 17 in Southfield entitled, ‘Turning Best Practice into Common Practice’. It’s always irked me that, regardless of industry, the term best practices seem to be posed as a practice that is an exception to the norm. With all of our studies, conferences and scholarly articles on best practices and how to implement them, shouldn’t they ultimately become common practices? Yes – and they have – according to event participants who were all followers of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model.

Huron Valley Physician Association (HPVA) member, Green Tree Pediatrics in Washtenaw County, made an impassioned presentation on the joys, but also the pain points, of pediatrics today, notably with the varying views by parents on vaccinations.  Best practices such as team huddles, planned care, self-management support, health coaching, health education, and empowering staff are now common practices there.

Battle Creek-based Integrated Health Partners explained the key role practice coaches play in practice transformation activities that lead to the creation of the patient centered medical home model. They acknowledged that practice transformation is a complex undertaking, involving fundamental change to how a practice functions. The benefit of coaches is helping practices identify workflows and creating quality improvement processes that help manage change.

The Wayne State University physician group was represented by a physician and behavioral health specialist from UPG Internal Medicine who shared the now common practice in their office of providing in-office behavior health services to patients who would rarely if ever seek treatment were it not offered in conjunction with their PCP visit.  Similarly, MedNetOne’s own Lucas Hollow noted his successes at member practice Woodhaven Pediatrics in treating distressed children the day of their visit with the pediatrician for other medical matters.  With Lucas available, as in the UPG scenario, the physician can triage a patient for an immediate behavioral health consultation. In some cases, as Lucas noted, solutions can be simple, such as returning to the same bedtime scenario a child had at his previous home prior to a move.  For complicated or ongoing behavioral health needs, a consultation is conveniently arranged.

The highlight of the event (and perhaps the real draw for my PO colleagues) was that Paul Grundy, M.D. served as speaker, commentator and overall practice cheerleader as he celebrated the “secret sauce” in these successful practices. Dr. Grundy is chief medical officer and global director of healthcare transformation for IBM’s Healthcare and Life Science Industry and the founding president of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC). After hearing the individual practice stories, Dr. Grundy, also known as the “godfather of PCMH” and an ardent supporter of Michigan’s healthcare community, gave a nod to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and progressive primary care practices in the state that have been among the nation’s leaders in advancing the PCMH and primary care. “In Michigan, the best get better,” Grundy said.

I would second that, as again I see movement towards more physician organization collaboration in our state. We’re not arm in arm yet, but we do appear to be heading in a common, patient-centric direction.

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