A few of our favorite things in primary care
A few of our favorite things in primary care

These are a few of our favorite things in primary care

As 2016 winds down, we’re taking a look back at the top five stories published since we launched Implementing Innovations into Practice. Each story provides practical tips your practice can use to improve care and patient health.

1.      Safe, effective opioid therapy: How one urban clinic turned the corner

November 10, 2015
by Rachel Solotaroff, MD, Chief Medical Director for Central City Concern in Portland, OR.

What we wondered
How was Central City Concern (CCC) able to successfully improve outcomes for a patient population experiencing widespread opioid use, poorly managed chronic pain, and rising opioid overdose deaths?

What we learned
Don’t go it alone. Caregivers and patients working together is key. Getting to know new patients is fundamental to fully evaluating their risk. CCC enacted a three-tiered approach and rigorously applied risk stratification strategies.

Read Dr. Solotaroff’s account of how to create safe, effective opioid therapy for patients.

2.      Staying alive: A survival story from the primary care frontline

December 9, 2015
by Gregory Reicks, DO, Family Medicine Physician at Foresight Family Physicians in Grand Junction, CO.

What we wondered
How to provide better care to patients with diabetes?

What we learned
Team-based care grounded in shared data was the foundation for improvement. To go even further, Foresight Family Physicians leveraged practice coach support and sought additional opportunities at all levels: local, regional, and national. The data are there, available for ongoing practice improvement.

Read Dr. Reicks’ excellent example of how to take your primary care practice to the next level.

3.      Behavioral health integration: What does it really mean in primary care?

March 24, 2016
by Dona Cutsogeorge, MA, staff author and communications coordinator at the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, WA.

What we wondered
What does behavioral health integration really look like in primary care and how can we make it most effective?

What we learned
We learned what behavioral health integration really means and how to differentiate between “co-locating” and truly integrating behavior health specialists on staff. We got recommendations from Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, Director (Emeritus) of the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation and a Senior Investigator at Group Health Research Institute on what kind of staff and skill sets are required to best integrate behavioral health providers into primary care practices.

Read the interview with Dr. Ed Wagner on behavioral health integration.

4.      Community health workers: A key link in integrated behavioral health care

March 29, 2016
by Heidi Berthoud, MPH, staff writer and project manager at the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, WA.

What we wondered
How do community health workers (CHWs) bring value by delivering medical services to hard-to-reach populations?

What we learned
Peer-to-peer relationships are key. CHWs have a unique connection to patients who may otherwise fall through the cracks. CHWs are routinely used in many developing countries to connect patients with resources, but the benefit of employing them is only now starting to be embraced in many U.S. practices across the country.

Read how La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe, N.M. is ahead of the curve in effectively using CHWs as early adopters of the integrated behavioral health model.

5.      Referral coordination: From fragmentation to full-circle care

January 20, 2016
by Jonet Shepherd, Referral Coordinator at St. Luke’s Clinic – Eastern Oregon Medical Associates, Baker City, OR.

What we wondered
How to provide better, more effective care by overcoming fragmented information when patients need specialty services?

What we learned
To become more fully patient-centered, St. Luke’s enacted a robust referral process plan that sees referral coordination through the patient’s full cycle of care. The referral coordinator takes care of communicating what has happened and what is supposed to happen next. They hold providers accountable for effective communication. The result? Patients don’t have to make time and spend money on care that may be unhelpful or frustrating.

Read Ms. Shepherd’s account of how St. Luke’s makes referral coordination a more effective and efficient priority for patients.

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