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Highland Family Medicine Recognized as National Model

April 16, 2013

Highland Family Medicine is among 30 practices nationwide selected as an Exemplar Primary Care Practice by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Group Health Research Institute, who have teamed up on a new initiative to identify practice innovations that make primary care more efficient, effective, and satisfying to patients and providers.

The Primary Care Team: Learning from Effective Ambulatory Practices (LEAP) project identifies primary care practices that have focused on teamwork and new roles for health professionals in ways that support consistent outstanding primary care. Highland Family Medicine was selected through a rigorous national process to receive the designation.

The goal of the LEAP project is to identify and share innovative staffing arrangements that make primary care more accessible and effective for patients. A LEAP team will conduct a three-day site visit to understand how the Highland Family Medicine primary care team delivers high quality, patient-centered health care. The exemplar practices will then join together in a learning community to share best practices and distill their innovations into training and technical assistance materials that can be used by others.

“This recognition is an honor and affirms that what we are doing to provide efficient, comprehensive patient care is on the right track,” said Michael Mendoza, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Director at Highland Family Medicine and assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). “But this is also a huge responsibility. The innovations we have implemented at Highland Family Medicine and the advances we discuss through the learning community could change the face of primary care across the country.”

Highland Family Medicine will be influential in developing workforce improvement models that will be disseminated to primary care practices nationwide. The practice has launched several innovations over the past few years to manage patient care more effectively, including:

  • Implementing a regular review of patient status for vaccinations and/or preventive screenings, such as mammogram or colonoscopy.
  • Uusing care managers to ensure the smooth transition of patients from the hospital to the primary care office and/or between nursing homes and rehabilitation centers
  • Training residents of the URMC Department of Family Medicine in team-based care to prepare them for the changing needs of patients in primary care offices.

“With millions of Americans about to enter the health care system, primary care must become more effective and efficient. Building high performing care teams is a key step,” said Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, co-director of the LEAP project and director emeritus of the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. “This new project will allow us to identify best practices and help other primary care sites replicate and adopt innovations to improve access to care and the quality of care they provide.”

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