How OSF Medical Group's new team-based approach has boosted access and quality

OSF Medical Group plans to roll out a team-based model of care called the Care Transformation Initiative to all of its clinics, after a pilot test of the program at 40 clinics helped boost care access and quality, Maria Castellucci writes for Modern Healthcare.

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According to Castellucci, OSF in 2015 implemented the initiative in 40 of its clinics in Illinois. It plans to roll out the program to its 29 remaining clinics by April 2018.

How it works

Under the initiative, each participating clinic has a team that includes at least one:

  • Care manager;
  • Medical assistant;
  • Nurse;
  • Nurse practitioner; and
  • Physician.

Each team meets for 15 minutes every morning to discuss the plan for the day and review quality metrics, including which ones need improvement. During the day, the medical assistant works closely with the physician addressing the various preventive needs the patients have. For instance, the medical assistant will meet with patients before they see the physician to talk about any vaccinations or screenings they may need.

The Care Transformation Initiative also relies heavily on nurses to improve patient access to care, Castellucci writes. As part of the initiative, nurses, rather than physicians, will meet with patients seeking care for a common illness, such as a urinary-tract infection or strep throat. Nurses also handle any follow-up appointments scheduled by a physician or other advanced care provider for complex patients, so long as the appointments involve only a quick check-up.

Positive results

According to Castellucci, the 40 clinics participating in the initiative have hit their 78% vaccination goals for pneumococcal pneumonia, and a study published last year in JAMA found that OSF's model significantly improved screening for depression as well as for diabetes protocols adherence.

In addition, OSF physicians at participating clinics have reported that the model has helped them, Castellucci writes. Michael Maloney, a physician at OSF Medical Group-Guilford Square, said the model enabled physicians to focus on patients' main issues and concerns. "We are able to offload some of these appointments that are appropriate for the nurse clinic—it has improved our access," he said.

And Tina Pumilia, an RN at OSF Guilford, said the model has helped her feel like she can practice to the full extent of her abilities. "It really makes a difference to feel like there is a team behind me," she said. (Castellucci, Modern Healthcare, 12/16).

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