As a leader in health care, Christiana Care Health System is committed to providing value to colleagues and neighbors through innovative systems of care. A shining example of that strategy is the Medical Group of Christiana Care, a large, rapidly growing practice designed to serve patients through a variety of specialties and primary care.
Making the patient the center of care is at the heart of the Medical Group model. That strategy aligns with the Triple Aim championed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement: to improve the health of populations, improve the experience of care for individuals and reduce health care costs.
“By providing better access to care and coordinating that care, we can deliver both high-quality care and value to our patients,” said Alan Greenglass, M.D., executive medical director of the Medical Group. Many of those patients are Christiana Care employees.
The Medical Group plays an important role in Christiana Care Quality Partners, an innovative model of care for health system employees and their dependents and an exciting step forward in population health management. Dr. Greenglass is also the president and chief executive officer of Quality Partners.
To increase access to care, the Medical Group has extended office hours, including hours at night and on the weekends, and has added new physicians and nurse practitioners. All this makes it easier for patients to schedule appointments into their busy lives.
In all, the Medical Group provided nearly 400,000 patient visits in the past year. That includes preventive care to help patients stay well, which is a key component of the model. Patients with chronic illnesses receive the extra help they need.
Care also is more efficient. For example, electronic records make it easier for care providers to coordinate care and prevent wasteful spending on unnecessary duplication of tests and procedures.
“We are continually looking for ways to improve patient quality outcomes, the patient experience and ease of access, while managing expenses,” said Kristi Pintar, corporate director of the Medical Group. “We live the Triple Aim in all that we do. It’s all about providing the greatest value to our patients, our colleagues and our neighbors.”
The Medical Group also provides patients with enhanced resources and options. For the first time, specialists outnumber primary care providers. Most recently, neonatology and more women’s health providers were added to the group.
Jessica Stirpe, M.D., a neurologist and headache specialist, recently began practicing with the Medical Group. She says the model benefits patients by opening the lines of communication between patients and providers.
“I am excited to be in a place where patients are partners in their health, because that is the direction health care is taking,” she said. “There is also great communication between specialists and primary care providers, which contributes to quality care.”
“With these resources and preventive care, we will be able to keep people healthy at home — and out of the hospital.”
In addition to primary and specialty care, there is a specific emphasis on preventive care with the addition of health coaches, who help patients to stay well. The Medical Group practices focus on proactive, evidence-based care that provides the highest quality to patients.
“For example, during an office visit for shoulder pain, our medical record system alerts us that the patient is over 50 and hasn’t been screened for colorectal cancer,” said Eric I. Schwartz, M.D., medical director, Medical Group of Christiana Care. “This proactive system allows us to educate the patient on the value of colorectal screening and schedule him for a colonoscopy.”
A new call center and the patient portal also enhance patient access. In addition to scheduling appointments through the call center, patients can speak to a registered nurse regarding a clinical concern. The patient portal provides a convenient way for patients to ask questions, request prescription refills, review their medical information and request appointments.
A number of practices offer integrated multi-specialty care and are accepting new patients. They include: Claymont, Greenville, Hockessin, Limestone, Middletown, New Castle, Smyrna and Springside in Delaware, Carney’s Point in southern New Jersey, and Concord in Pennsylvania.
Gina Capitoni, D.O., who is accepting new patients at the Hockessin Family Medicine Practice, recently completed her Family Medicine residency at Christiana Care. She is excited about being part of a model that benefits patients by providing both greater access and high-quality care.
“I am looking forward to being part of the team, where doctors, nurses and health coaches all work together to provide great care for patients,” she said. “With these resources and preventive care, we will be able to keep people healthy at home — and out of the hospital.”