I was excited to present at the Medicaid Medical Directors’ Learning Network, invited by Amanda Brodt, MPP, from AcademyHealth, in St. Paul, MN. The Network is coordinated by Academy Health and Sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
I had not heard about the network before Amanda told me about it, so it was great to sit in on the round robin as these medical leaders shared their perspectives on serving Medicaid recipients across the United States. Their jobs are challenging to be sure, at the same time they bring a lot of energy and interest into serving well, which includes supporting the medical communities they work and practice in.
The topic of the session I attended was the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and how concepts are already being deployed in Medicaid populations. I was invited to give a private sector perspective and in that vain, gave a presentation entitled, “4 1/2 reasons why patients and families should be involved in their care, and 2 1/2 things you can do to help,” covering my experience implementing health information technology and visiting practices across the US over the past 7 months.
I expected to find an innovative group of physicians with a perspective on improving health care from a societal perspective, and I was not disappointed. Many of the States are grappling with the implementation of electronic health records locally and across large geographies – HIT is no longer the domain of a single health care organization. This means patient access is also a possibility across organizational and provider boundaries, which is really good news. Oregon, I believe, is now reimbursing for online visits within its program.
There was a comment made about the fact the Group Health has not experienced the same penetration of its online services in its contracted network, as demonstrated in this paper. I think this should be seen as a great opportunity, rather than an unchangeable reality, because the data indicates that patients at all levels of income and education are online and want to be involved in their care. The challenge is to outfit smaller practices with EHRs, and this is happening in places like New York and California, in what I think is a replicable model. At the same time, it was pointed out that the most vulnerable patients probably have the lowest level of access relative to their less vulnerable peers. It’s an excellent point to be made that populations with 40 % Internet penetration may benefit most from greater involvement.
Several of the Medical Directors expressed a belief that I share, which is that the leadership role is about enabling the best care, and awakening the desire on the part of all health professionals to be the best for their patients. I think this group and the programs they represent have the potential to support patient centered care for every patient in every system, and I like being in rooms where that’s the case, of course!
One thing I couldn’t find online is a web site (or blog :)) describing this group’s activities. I know that they are all extremely busy – I think their communities, though, should be impressed with the work these physicians do on their behalf.