Last week I spoke about healthcare reform and GBMC’s vision of doing what is right for our patients by providing better health, better care, lower costs with more joy (for our healthcare providers). It’s quite clear that healthcare reform as a whole is an evolution and these types of major transformations don’t happen overnight. We’re at the beginning of our own evolution and I’m proud to say that GBMC is leading the way in changing the status quo and the way in which we will be providing healthcare for the future. One of the first steps we’ve taken in this era of change is the creation of Greater Baltimore Health Alliance (GBHA), which will serve as the guiding force for implementing an integrated system of care including the creation of a patient-centered medical home healthcare model for GBMA practices and in private physician practices in the community.
Dr. Mark Lamos, who has been practicing internal medicine at GBMC for more than 20 years and who leads the primary care physician side of Greater Baltimore Medical Associates (GBMA), has been a visionary leader in the development and implementation of the medical home model at the Hunt Valley practice and for GBMA. He, along with the dedicated physicians, nurses and staff at this practice are paving the way for the future of healthcare at GBMC. Dr. Lamos explains that they moved into their new, expanded office space one month ago and are in the process of making their “house into a home,” getting the new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system up and running, establishing care coordinator teams, and extending office hours until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday with hours on Saturday.
“Over the next few months, our team will be learning and moving forward together,” says Dr. Lamos. “Change is never easy and evolving into a patient-centered model, which is a completely new mindset for how we deliver care, will take some time. But, what we are doing is building the best world for our patients. As we continue to transform, we will only see improvement in the health of our community.”
Dr. Lamos says that when it comes to the medical home model, GBHA has four guiding principles for improving a patient’s health by:
· Providing better quality care
· Providing less expensive care
· Improving the health of our community, and
· Changing from a transactional way of delivering care to a focus on long term preventative care and management of chronic disease.
[Please click on this video to hear Dr. Lamos define medical home and what it means for the future of healthcare at GBMC]
With an emphasis on evidence-based medicine, we’ll be able to decrease risks and improve wellness for our patients. By focusing on disease management, our patients who are dealing with obesity and/or have diabetes or hypertension, for example, will have a team coordinating their care so that their condition, their medications, and even follow-up appointments are all monitored and managed, ensuring that the disease remains in check for the long term. A medical home model also allows us to establish metrics and put systems in place to track diseases and compile data so that we can follow up with our patients and make sure they stay on the path to wellness.
As Dr. Lamos states, “If one of our physicians refers a patient to a specialist, we will check to see if that patient went to the specialist. It’s all about long term, coordinated care to help our patients thrive.”
Regardless of what the ultimate healthcare reform bill looks like all of the measures we are putting into place now make good business sense and are simply the right things to do for our patients and the community we serve. Our GBMC at Hunt Valley practice are pioneers in this new movement. They will continue to put these systems in place, to grow, learn and reinforce the medical home philosophy of patient-centeredness. The outcome? They will be the first GBHA practice to become an accredited medical home site, setting the standard for all of our other GBMA practices, and our private practice physicians.
Dr. Lamos explains that we’re at the beginning of a new journey. “It’s no longer an individual system, it’s a patient-centered medical home,” he says. “Home meaning that we’re all in this together.”
P.S. If you want to learn about “accountable” care from the man who coined the term, click on this link to hear a panel presentation moderated by Dr. Elliott Fisher of Dartmouth University - http://fms.acpe.org/acpeTV/aco/aco.html