Monday, March 10, 2014

20th MDG fine tunes patient care

by Senior Airman Laura L. Valentine
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/6/2014 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Medical Group was recently competitively selected as one of only three out of 74 Air Force military treatment facilities to receive specialized training on the patient centered medical home model in order to fine-tune the quality of care the facility provides.

A Patient-Centered Medical Home team from Joint Base San Antonio - Fort Sam Houston, Texas, led by Maj. Ernest Perez, 383rd Training Squadron PCMH Operations program course director, delivered the training to 20th MDG personnel here, Feb. 25-28.

"The patient-centered medical home is an approach to providing comprehensive primary care through an individual's life by facilitating partnerships between the patient, their personal providers, and when appropriate, the patient's family," Perez said. "The overall goal is to improve quality care effectively and efficiently while reducing costs."

Since 2009, medical treatment facilities across the Air Force have turned their care focus to the PCMH model, a method used widely across civilian medical care facilities as well.

The 20th MDG is recognized as a PCMH by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

"The clinic has put this healthcare model into motion and has been extremely effective, as evident by their recent Air Combat Command 2013 Surgeon General Annual Award for Best Clinic of the Year," Perez said.

At the 20th MDG, there are five teams comprised of a provider, a nurse practitioner, medical technicians and administrative technicians who work together. The continuity of that team is key, said Maj. Karyn Revelle, 20th Medical Operations Squadron flight commander.

That continuity is what allows medical teams to work efficiently throughout the day and better take care of their patients.

The PCMH team helped create the foundation for training all members of the medical group so all understand the model and are able to train others.

During the course, availability care was limited so the maximum number of medical personnel could benefit.

Training covers not only specific details of daily operations, but also a basic understanding of the PCMH as it's used across the medical group.

"It's a great program because it doesn't just focus on the patient care aspect of the PCMH," said Senior Airman Kyle Bettis, 20th MDOS medical technician. "It's the bigger picture, the whole concept, which is important for the new Airmen to understand."

The mobile team was able to teach the entire medical group team rather than having one or two individuals travel to Texas for the course. This way, trainers can better understand the local group dynamics and determine if improvement is needed in particular areas.

The mobile course can essentially make up for six to eight months of on-the-job training for team members who would alternatively use that time trying to understand the requirements individually, Revelle said.
As a mid-sized clinic, the 20th MDG Family Health Clinic schedules approximately 58,000 appointments a year and sees roughly 1,100 patients each week.

"The 20th MDG is already moving in the right direction because of the mentality of teamwork, holding each other accountable and taking ownership of patients," Perez said. "They aren't complacent with their success and continue to improve the care experience."

Driven by the same standards as off-base providers, the 20th MDG uses the same resources and benchmarks to mirror quality of care. By using the PCMH, providers are able to build rapport through emphasizing communication with and empowering the patient, facilitating continuity of care and improving access to care.

"Our Air Force Chief of Staff notes that every Airman has a story to tell," said Col. Curt Prichard, 20th MDG commander. "Through PCMH, we are able to learn every patient's story and then provide them the personalized care and preventative tools to make their story one of not only good health, but the best health possible."

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