Connecting beyond the clinic

Published: March 14, 2018 By: Dee Russell
Nipa R. Shah, M.D.

Several UF Health practices have been nationally recognized for enhancing patient-provider partnerships.

Every patient seen by a UF Health primary care physician also receives care from a team of experts who are all working to keep them well. From the medical assistant who takes their vital signs to the registered nurse who assists with medications and treatment, each uses evidence-based, patient-focused processes that enhances the patient experience and targets improved outcomes.

“We are committed to making sure our patients get what they need long after their 15-minute appointments with their providers,” said Alexanderia Burwell, the Patient-Centered Medical Home consultant. “Established care teams and the use of technology allow patients to have continuous connections with providers for close monitoring of clinical measures and their health care needs.”

In December, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or NCQA, designated UF Health Jacksonville and University of Florida Jacksonville Physicians Inc., the faculty practice plan, as Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home providers for using this model of care. This is the second time all 34 of the UF Health internal medicine, pediatric and primary care practices have received the three-year designation. In addition, they are the first health organizations in Northeast Florida as well as the largest academic medical group in the state to receive this recognition.

“We are incredibly proud of achieving this status,” said Nipa Shah, MD, a professor and chair of community health and family medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “We take pride in being the first academic health center in Florida to gain this status and are committed to maintaining it. We continuously work with our staff to ensure we meet our administrative responsibilities while providing effective patient care.”

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a method of primary care that provides a personal approach to medicine and strengthens the bond between patients and their providers. Each patient is overseen by a clinician-led care team that manages their treatments across the UF Health system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher-quality care and lower costs over time.

“Initially, this method cost us more because we had to hire more people to meet the quality standards,” Shah said. “It also requires physicians to spend more time in front of the computer to properly document patient outcomes in Epic. So far, we are seeing small changes with outcomes, and we have seen an overall improvement in our patient satisfaction data.”

UF Health Jacksonville and UFJP continue to implement policies and processes that help patients achieve greater access to care through the following improvements:

  • Enhanced communication through effective use of the MyUFHealth web portal and the MyChart mobile app
  • Extended call center hours
  • Same-day appointments
  • UF Health Virtual Visits (telemedicine program)

“We want to ensure every aspect of a patient’s health is touched,” Burwell said. “Following this model of care helps us do that, providing the very best care for every person we serve.”

Nipa R. Shah, M.D.

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