On April 7, 64 practice teams from across Ohio converged on Columbus, OH, to take part in a quality improvement (QI) project focused on four clinical topics and to understand the importance of effective and efficient teamwork and its impact on patient care.
This was the second time that these four vital topics were brought together for a massive summit – this year’s team count even surpassed last year’s by 3 teams!
Topics included Colorectal Cancer Screening Improvement; Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection; Diabetes Prevention and Management; and Hypertension Management.
The day started with a focus on population health. Primary care physicians and their care teams are uniquely positioned to treat people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds but with that comes many challenges with individual factors that affect patient outcomes. Understanding how currently available community services can be used to improve the health of patients without requiring additional effort or expense for the medical practice starts to become an important issue in primary care practices across the state.
To help address this gap, teams were joined by Molly Haroz, director of nutrition programs, from LifeCare Alliance, a not-for-profit organization providing a comprehensive array of health and nutrition services to older adults, and medically challenged or homebound residents, as well as Ryan Kauffman, MD, whose practice is working with LifeCare Alliance to incorporate linkages between LifeCare Alliance services and the office. Teams were encouraged to amplify their approach for developing solutions that addresses social and economic factors that individual patients face to improve the overall health of the community. Haroz and Kauffman shared many practical tips for starting these important conversations and offered examples of organizations they can reach out to as soon as they get back to the office.
Following the motivating morning session, teams broke into tracks based on their chosen area of focus.
Expert speakers in each track covered topics such as the importance of QI and its impact on enhanced patient care, showcased key points of the chosen topic, and illustrated how streamlining office procedures can have a positive influence on health outcomes as well as an improved work environment.
- Colorectal Cancer Screening Improvement Track – speaker Laura Makaroff, DO, and moderator Jon Seager, MD
- Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Track – speaker Heidi Gullett, MD, and moderator Mary Krebs Gronbeck, MD
- Diabetes Prevention and Management Track – speaker Michael Heile, MD, and moderator Don Clark, MD
- Hypertension Management Track – speaker Gary LeRoy, MD, and moderator Doug Harley, DO.
A highlight of the day was the process mapping exercise that teams worked through in the afternoon. Eliminating unnecessary or wasteful steps in a process makes work run more smoothly and is more satisfying for the entire staff. Practice teams are always looking for ways to streamline efficiencies and this activity helped participants accomplish just that. The activity provided teams with a visual map of the steps that the entire practice team, including the patient, take to conduct a routine visit where the chosen educational topic was appropriate.
“Our multi-disciplinary teams included doctors, nurse practitioners, our wellness coordinator, our dietician, and members of our quality department. The Summit was not only good for team building and camaraderie, but also gave everyone valuable skills in QI projects and process mapping. Our diabetes and hypertension teams left the Summit recharged and ready to make an impact on our patients’ health through our projects,” explained one participant.
With the map completed, teams concluded the day by creating an action plan detailing the new protocol that will be put into place when teams return to practice.
The QI Summit kicks off a five-month implementation phase where the participating practices will put their new protocol into place and collect data to track progress. All teams will utilize a corresponding online module to complete this process. All modules are accredited by the American Board of Family Medicine for Family Medicine Certification Practice Improvement credit and by the American Academy of Family Physicians for continuing medical education credits.
These practices are well on their way to having a huge effect on the care of their patients and their communities as a whole. Not to mention, they have the tools necessary to begin making connections to community resources to connect their patients with the assistance they need outside of the clinic walls – all making huge strides in the fight against social determinants of health.
Thank you to our program partners, the American Cancer Society East Central Division, the Ohio Department of Health, and the American Academy of Family Physicians Family Medicine Philanthropic Consortium and to other organization supporters, the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, CliniSync, the Health Services Advisory Group, and LifeCare Alliance.
To view photos from the day, please visit the OAFP Facebook page.