June 27 2006 - Trinity Clinic Whitehouse Offers New Health Care Approach

Press Release - June 27, 2006
Trinity Clinic Whitehouse Offers New Health Care Approach

Trinity Clinic Whitehouse Embarks on TransforMed Project

By Melissa Gerdes, M.D.

One day, you awake, and something does not feel quite right. You have a sore throat, headache and feel warm. “Great!” you think. “I don’t have time to be sick. I’ve got too much to do today.” Once on the Internet, you email your family doctor with your plight. You shower, get the kids up for school and check your email. Your doctor has responded to your “e-visit”, writing “you likely have a cold” and that she has called in a prescription at your pharmacy for you and wishes you a good day.

You are feeling pretty good for a few days after getting that prescription, when you suddenly develop trouble breathing. You again email your doctor, who responds: “I need to see you in my office, please access our scheduling link to determine what time is good for you.” You go to the link and figure 2:30 pm (just before picking up the kids from school) would be good. You arrive at 2:30 and see the doctor at 2:32. She diagnoses you with asthma. After treatment, you are set up for a group visit to teach you about managing your own asthma. “What is this?” you ask. Your doctor explains that you will be meeting with her and other asthma patients in a 30-minute session to learn about asthma.

“That group session was great. I didn’t realize so many people have asthma and how it affects everything I do. I really understand how each of my medications works,” you explain to your friend on the phone. You notice you have an email. It is your doctor’s office again with a daily reminder to take your medications. She also has the answers to some questions you had after the group session.
Does this sound like any medical experience you have had in the past year? Probably not. However, this is the exact type of experience family medicine practices participating in the nationwide TransforMed project want every American to have. Convenience, quality, and satisfaction are the cornerstones of the project.

TransforMed, an affiliate of the American Academy of Family Physicians, will run an $8 million dollar national study of 36 family medicine practices across the country. Trinity Clinic Whitehouse, employing Dr. Melissa Gerdes, Dr. Amy Mullins, and Dr. Janet Hurley, has been chosen to participate. Our clinic is the only practice in Texas, which has been chosen to participate.

TransforMed will implement, over a 2 year period, elements of the Future of Family Medicine Report Published in 2004. In addition, they will evaluate these elements to see if they indeed do improve the quality of and satisfaction with health care. The difference between the current general state of health care and the “Future” is summarized below:

Traditional Model of Practice New Model of Practice

Systems often disrupt patient-physician Systems support continuous healing relationship relationships

Physician is center stage Patient is center stage

Unnecessary barriers to access by patients Open access to patients

Care is mostly reactive Care is both responsive and pro-active

Paper medical record (stays in one location) Electronic medical record (can move with the patient)

Communication is in person or by phone Communication is in person, by phone, e-mail, web portal, etc.

Quality and safety are assumed Quality and safety are measured, proven, and improved

Physician is the main source of care Multidisciplinary team is source ofcare

Haphazard chronic disease management Purposeful, organized chronic disease management

The TransforMed project will facilitate the study practices moving from the “Traditional Model” to the “New Model”. Elements such as electronic medical records, on-line access to scheduling, and e-mail visits with physicians are changes which will allow transformation to the new model.

The Trinity Clinic at Whitehouse applied to be a part of the TransforMed project in January. We have already tried several components of the New Model. Drs. Gerdes and Mullins conduct QuickSickTM visits. These are 5-minute visits held over the noon hour and end of the business day for upper respiratory symptoms. Patients are generally in and out of the office within 30 minutes. Group weight loss sessions are available, and the entire office operates on an electronic medical record. We hope that participation in the TransforMed project will allow us to implement more patient friendly programs. Above all, we would like to be more responsive to our patients and the Whitehouse community to meet their needs. We start the study this month and look forward to our challenging work ahead.

For more information on services available through Trinity Mother Frances Health System, visit www.tmfhs.org.

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