A team-based approach designed to transform the primary care experience
Current health care trends reveal an increasing number of primary care physicians and teams experiencing burnout, making it harder for patients to access quality health care. Rising health care costs, performance-based reimbursement, and doing more with less all affect patient care and provider satisfaction.
What if there were a way to deliver primary care that is more affordable, accessible and compassionate, while also increasing provider satisfaction, at the same time? The innovation team at Mercy Health believes there is, and they have put their research into action in its new Mercy Health Physician Partners Innovative Primary Care office, which opened on January 2, 2018, on Grand Rapids’ West Side.
Housed in the historic American Seating Building, 801 Broadway, NW, its high ceilings and exposed brick walls hint at a time when the location powered area business. Now, the space offers a powerful promise to what primary health care can and is meant to be — a personalized experience with a team-based approach, with the flexibility to adapt, expand and customize to a patient’s current needs while optimizing healthy outcomes.
This new primary care model is being spearheaded by the Mercy Health innovation team, including primary care physicians Fred Reyelts, MD, and Mary Kline, MD. They are supported by an experienced team of clinicians — Megan Yee, MD; Kristi Dzingle, PA-C; Jerry Miklosi, PA-C; and Renee Sirois, NP, — who will work collaboratively to deliver high quality care using evidence-based practices.
“What makes Mercy Health Physician Partners Innovative Primary Care different — not only from other practices but other health systems — is our comprehensive approach based on years of research and design,” said Reyelts, co-lead physician at Mercy Health Physician Partners Innovative Primary Care. “It’s more than cost-effective measures; it’s a model that is intent on creating a personalized, compassionate experience — for both the patient and the provider. This while continuing our mission to support underserved communities and being a healing, transforming presence in the communities we serve.”
Considered a “pilot” site, this new approach to care delivery will be tested and refined, with the goal of eventually scaling various aspects of its innovations across West Michigan and throughout Trinity Health nationwide. The patient base at the new office is representative of other urban areas in the United States where Trinity Health has a presence, making it an ideal test site.
“The beauty of this model is that it doesn’t have to be duplicated in its entirety,” Reyelts added. “Other Mercy Health providers can observe our processes and implement selected aspects of our model in their current offices, as appropriate.”
What the Research Shows…
Team-based care means more patients and more time. With the right resources and an expanded team of clinical care managers, population health and triage nurses, and medical assistants, the physicians can manage a larger patient base. By expanding the role of all care team members so that their licensures, experiences and abilities are optimized, the providers can focus their time and attention where a higher level of expertise is needed.
Patients may notice that there are more medical assistants doing both direct work (rooming patients) and indirect work (chart preparation), which will keep the office flow going while reducing wait times. When fully staffed, the care team will include pharmacists, additional clinical care managers, health coaches, community health workers, behavioral specialists and nutritionists. While these team members can serve patients onsite, the new facility is also built with consultations for patients via virtual visits in mind.
Team-based care allows more focused attention on better outcomes. In this new team-based model, the physician focuses more on controlling chronic disease, providing guidance about standards of care, and seeing acute patients.
“In the old model, I spent only one-third of my time doing what I do best — seeing people with difficult disease processes or multiple comorbidities to manage,” said Reyelts. “Two-thirds of my time I spent doing everything else.”
Kline agrees. In the new model, some patient care and administrative responsibilities are distributed to other qualified team members to help free up time for physicians to handle more severe or complex cases.
“As a provider,” Kline said, “I can actually spend more of my time focused on building a relationship with and caring for my patient and less time on the administrative details.”
Reyelts added, “We will improve both patient care and team satisfaction by allowing team members to work to their highest level of interest, skills/aptitude and certification/licensure. We’re always looking for new ways to deliver better care to our patients. With MHPP’s innovative approach to continuously improving the patient and provider experience, now we can.”
If you have any questions about MHPP Innovative Primary Care, please contact Manager Daniel Gerke at Daniel.Gerke@mercyhealth.com