Innovations In Primary Care

Across the country, primary care teams are transforming health care. Individuals and companies across the country are building on major shifts in our system to deliver better care, better health at lower costs.

Stories

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Home-Centered Care Reduces Costs and Hospital Admissions for the Aging Population—Thomas Cornwell, M.D., HomeCare Physicians, Wheaton, IL

People 65 years or older are the fastest growing age group in the United States, and the highest utilizers of costly hospital and nursing home services. Without a change in approach, the demand and costs for long-term services and support will increase as our society ages.

Thomas Cornwell, M.D., realized the benefit of using house call programs to serve this complex and costly patient population, and in 1997, he founded HomeCare Physicians, in Wheaton, Ill. The community hospital-sponsored house call program provides quality, affordable care in the comfort of elderly patients’ homes including lab tests, EKGs, X-rays, ultrasounds, IVs and other modern medical technology normally offered at a hospital. Providing care in the home also ensures the patient-physician connection continues after hospital discharge, further reducing hospital readmission and health care costs.

Building off the success of his house call practice, Cornwell founded the Home Centered Care Institute in 2012, which is a collaborative, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the national expansion of house call practices and the integration of community resources.

Family Physician Uses Group Visits to Combat Diabetes—Devin Sawyer, M.D., Providence St. Peter Family Medicine, Olympia, WA

Devin Sawyer, M.D., director of the residency program at Providence St. Peter Family Medicine in Olympia, Wash., has been using "mini-group visits" (usually three patients per group) to help patients with diabetes support each other through treatment. These sessions including discussions of lifestyle changes, behavior changes and self-management to help control the disease.

These group visits do not replace the patients' regular office visits, and patients are still seen periodically between mini-group visits, which are scheduled every three or four months.

Patients in the groups benefit from the support of their peers dealing with the same condition and they regularly hold each other accountable for treatment, checking in with each other outside the office visits.

Health Plans Investing in Value-Based Care Models—Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) has been implementing local, value-based care models for more than two decades, and has continually refined and improved the model every year.

Today, the BCBSIL program works with 75 medical groups and covers more than 700,000 members under a program that rewards quality of care over volume of care. That means patients get what they need when they need it—and physicians and practices are rewarded based on outcomes.

In 2015, BCBSIL launched four new coordinated care groups in its continued effort to lower medical costs while improving health outcomes. With the addition of these new groups, BCBSIL now has nine Accountable Care Organizations in Illinois serving more than 450,000 patients.

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