A Message from our Strategy Champion, Tom Balsbaugh
The U.S. health-care system is entering a time of great change, driven by political, economic and societal forces. Access to high quality, cost-effective primary care will be a critical part of a successful health-care system. The passage of the Affordable Care Act will provide insurance to nearly 32 million people nationally and 3.2 million in California, and 167,000 in Sacramento County. Will we be ready?
UC Davis Health System’s Strategic Plan recognizes this important need in Strategic Goal 1.3, Robust Primary Care. The plan builds on the history of success UC Davis has built with a reputation as a national leader for primary care. To help us create our plan for achieving Goal 1.3, we assembled a group of stakeholders from different disciplines and professions. Carol Robinson, the medical center’s chief nursing officer, and I are the strategy leaders for this goal.
The Strategic Plan seeks to improve quality and access by building our version of the patient-centered medical home. The tactics for improving the primary care infrastructure include:
- Redesigning clinical workflows to improve teamwork
- Providing centralized support for care coordination
- Using the data obtained from our electronic medical records system for proactive outreach and quality improvement
These interventions should help us deliver evidence-based services for patients, reduce avoidable hospitalizations, and improve the patient experience. Offering patients a better medical home will be an important part of a plan for growth of our patient base. This growth has already begun – our Primary Care Network will be opening a new office in Sacramento’s Campus Commons area in September, and the network will be expanding by 15 to 20 providers over the next three to five years.
Primary care education is another important part of the Strategic Plan. One of the key tactics identified by the planning committee is the need for longitudinal educational experiences in outstanding primary care offices. Our Primary Care Network and hospital-based clinics showcase our integrated health system and offer great opportunity for interprofessional learning. The Strategic Plan implementation team will be working with the Office of Medical Education and Ambulatory Care Administration to maximize this valuable resource.
The robust primary care strategic goal also seeks to engage learners in our community. One successful example of this is the Communities and Health Professionals Together program. The program engages residents from Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and other learners from the medical and nursing schools to engage in community projects to improve health. Our trainees learn about health advocacy and the power of an engaged community. The Strategic Plan aims to build on the success of the program to create a community health advisory team. This group of faculty and local community members will identify opportunities to improve community health while engaging our trainees. This work will help learners understand the synergy between health care and public health.
I believe we can be ready for the “wave” of the newly insured. The health system can play a critical role for improving health on a local level, as well as a state and national level with this investment in primary care. If you would like to know more about this area of the Strategic Plan or if you want to join one of our implementation subgroups, please contact the Office of Strategic Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Professor in Family and Community Medicine