Portland Physicians Team Up With Harvard
June 13, 2012 -- The Portland InterHospital Physicians Association (Portland IPA), Oregon’s largest physician group comprising more than 2,600 primary care and specialty physicians, has implemented a Harvard-based leadership initiative to help physicians better manage the business and administrative aspects of their practices. The Portland
IPA used Harvard's curriculum to connect physicians in diverse specialties to improve clinical and financial performance.
One outcome of the leadership program included physicians designing and piloting a group medical visit model, where six to seven patients are seen by the provider at the same time. Shared medical appointments improve access to care, target better compliance and adherence by the patient and create efficiencies in billings, allowing the practice to save money and time, said Tanveer Bokhari, director of quality improvement for the Portland IPA. Specific areas of improvement also included using leadership strategies to implement health information technology, and acceleration of new quality projects in the individual practices.
Nine practices and 29 providers participated in the leadership training program, said Bokhari. He added, "Several of the participating physicians are developing new payment methods and new quality improvement programs both for their practices and the Portland
Besides piloting the shared medical visit program which helped improve compliance for patients with diabetes, others programs were designed by physicians to help identify and treat patients with osteoporosis to ensure they had access to the most appropriate, effective treatments. Physician leaders are now designing programs that the Portland IPA
will create grant funding for, which will improve health outcomes among specific patient populations.
Portland IPA Executive Director Donna McClellan, R.N., said, "This intensive 'quality university' approach taught doctors about the market forces at work in health care reform, policy initiatives to curtail cost growth, how information technology and electronic health record systems impact ambulatory care, and how to ensure the right care happens at the right time."
Portland IPA Medical Director Tom Gragnola, M.D. noted that one-third of the jointly designed curriculum was dedicated to strategies around how information technology is used in health care, specifically what patient safety risks are associated with health information technology systems and how to use data exchange to drive improvements in
clinical quality. He said, "As providers, we must never stop improving quality, bettering our practices and growing the use of technologies to help and improve the lives of our patients."