Friday, October 29, 2010

Health Care Innovators at #fmecnet

I went to a bunch of sessions today grouped together under the umbrella of the "Health Care Innovations Network" at the Family Medicine Education Consortium NE region meeting. I'm trying to get people to tweet during the meeting (hashtag #fmecnet). That concept is pretty new here, but to follow what we have so far, you can check it out here.

The moderators for the sessions were Paul Grundy, MD, Roland Goetrz, MD, and Edward Zurad, MD. These three are also going to be doing the keynote speeches during this meeting. I really wasn't sure about what I would get out of these sessions. But, I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned.

Everyone knows the many weaknesses of the current US model of health care including more payment for procedures as opposed to prevention. But, there is very little heard about those programs who are using different models or care. The models that we heard about included "Health Access Rhode Island," and Scituate Health Alliance. We also heard of physicians who directly talk with health care purchasers (ie - employers).

Everyone in the Family Medicine community knows that we give great health care in this country. Unfortunately, there was not enough data out there to back up this claim. I'm learning now that there are pockets of the country who have been gathering this data and presenting this data to employers and insurance companies. The data shows that, when done the right way, Family Docs deliver high quality care at decreased cost.

The problem is that no one (or very few people) know about these successful health care delivery models. One of the questions that came up today was this: "Can these smaller, successful programs scale up to take care of more patients - and still maintain their success numbers." That's the (multi) trillion dollar question.

I recorded a bunch of short video clips from this morning's sessions. I hope to edit that stuff and post it up to the blog tonight. I do have to tell you though - that I feel a little out of my element in that most of the people here are academic docs who have a lot of different day-to-day issues than community docs like me. But, like other conferences I've been to this month, our main focus is still the patient, and how we can deliver the best care both on a microeconomic and macroeconomic level.

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