Keeping Connected

Community Group Practice Collaboration Produces Camaraderie, Organizational Efficiencies

Concord Primary Care

Bring together the senior practice managers, practice managers, directors of division operations, and project managers from each of the D-H CGP in Concord, Manchester and Nashua. Add some special guests from Pharmacy, the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) or the Patient Service Center. Sprinkle in some idea sharing, brainstorming, and a little bit of candy for good measure. The result? A highly successful model for collaboration called the D-H Regional Primary Care Operations Team.

Impactful value

Megan Todd, director of Operations, manages the monthly team meetings held at Bedford Farms. She sets the agenda with topics relevant to primary care practices, and invites guests to share information relative to the CGP that may be disseminated through team members at their respective practices.

“The team provides the opportunity to discover what everyone is working on, share successful organizational metrics, strategically solve challenges and bring uniformity to operations when possible,” Todd explains. “This forum is also a safe place for people to get to know each other, making it easier to pick up the phone more readily with questions between meetings.”

Mary Beth Fauteux is the senior practice manager at D-H Nashua Primary Care. She highly values the team meetings for the exchange of ideas and best practices. “We collaborate to standardize policies, procedures and workflows so Patient Service Center (the Primary Care Call Center in the CGP) operations are more seamless,” she says. “We also support each other with advice to improve efficiencies across the CGP.”

She notes the example of when the CGP divisions were considering changing provider schedules, and some were already experienced offering 25-minute patient visits versus 15-or 30-minute ones. Team members shared their expertise and discussed the pros and cons of alternative scheduling ideas.

Effecting positive change

Navigating challenges is a regular team accomplishment. For instance, the team tackled a significant staffing need related to Coumadin (an anticoagulation medication) management at one of the divisions. The other divisions loaned training assistance and staff coverage to alleviate the issue until permanent staffing was secured.

At one time, the Emmi automated patient outreach system (provides patient engagement programs and outreach tools) was underutilized. Team members with experience using the tool shared its benefits, and strategized how to improve consistent adoption at each division—resulting in the initiation of flu shot reminder phone calls to patients CGP-wide, along with reminder calls for cancer screenings and diabetes management.

Members of the Patient Service Center visit the team meetings regularly to ensure the call center receives clear direction regarding scheduling, messages and prescription requests across the CGP. Pharmacy team members attend every other month, as do ACO staff.

“The meetings provide a forum for us to provide updates on each of our key areas: Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC) coding, quality (improving quality scores), patient data coordination and transitional care management,” reports Nikki Crean, Manager, ACO Ambulatory Care Coordination. “A lot of standardization begins at these meetings, where we can discuss changes with the leadership team, and they can provide feedback. The work of the ACO is centralized across the organization, but our success is dependent on regular engagement with the primary care divisions.” 

To learn more about the D-H Regional Primary Care Operations Team, contact Megan Todd at megan.o.todd@hitchcock.org.