When it comes to the business of providing medical care, Premier departed from industry standards and the status quo in the hopes of creating a better path to care. Taking an alternative direction was hardly obvious or easy, yet it was definitely the right choice. With our communities and loyal patients needing improved medical attention, we were challenged to do more. Despite conjecture, excellence and efficiency in primary care do exist. Still, the complex journey to healthcare transformation is pursued by very few.
The front lines of health care reside in the exam room of primary care. Every day people are making trips to their doctor for health issues ranging from simple to complex. Therein lies an opportunity to give them a more complete experience and assess their overall health and wellness.
From the start, Premier physicians focused on creating a model of care to ensure patients consistently received the “right” care. To do that, we needed to be diligent in every aspect of patient health – tracking current vitals, supporting preventive measures, and providing health and wellness guidance. We shifted our focus to quality, in both the care and health outcomes of our patients. These efforts further reduce and avoid excessive medical utilization – tests, procedures and hospital stays.
Expanding our care model to become more comprehensive and collective, Premier needed specialized providers. We began recruiting specialists. Over the next several years, Premier added nearly 20 essential specialties and medical services including a successful hospitalist program at Forbes, an outpatient imaging center and sleep lab. This allowed primary care and specialists to collaborate in our patients’ best interests.
With the addition of physicians, specialties, medical services, and certainly many more patients, our physicians and leadership grew in our commitment to quickly advance from traditional, volume-based care to care delivery benchmarked by quality outcomes – the health of our patients.
A generous portion of primary care deals with acute medicine – treating what is in front of you. However, with rising numbers for chronic illnesses and spiraling healthcare costs, Premier had the opportunity and moral obligation to provide a solution to this crisis in our communities.
In 2011, we began to implement a national care model, Patient-Centered Medical Home, as a template adding a high threshold for quality and consistency across the organization. During this time, we increase the size of our staff and advanced training and skills to best utilize our health record platform. It took substantial commitment and long-range dedication, but in two years we received national accreditation as PCMH, Level 3 across all of the primary care – a leading indicator of higher quality care to the public.
Premier was now advancing on a model of care that brings greater value to the patient in terms of health and costs. As we continued to increase our medical offers, our staff and our technological savvy, we succeeded in becoming significantly more efficient in the delivery of care. All of which were necessary improvements to the patient experience.
Today, Premier is transforming healthcare in our communities. Our clinical teams have amassed national accreditations, awards and recognition that speak quite loudly for their contributions and excellence in care.
We continually seek out the best in care by affiliating with leading health organizations, like AMGA, Optum and the Allegheny Health Network. These partnerships and alliances with other top health providers in the US bring innovative strategies to the front lines of healthcare – our best practices.
We’ve experienced extraordinary outcomes in patient health over the past year. Through our ongoing participation in national initiatives and collaboratives, Premier targets the nation’s leading diseases and cancers. With our support, our patients are avoiding cancer, preventing diabetes, managing their diabetes and hypertension and reducing their exposure or risk of a future health crisis.
Having reached this level of high-performance in care delivery, Premier has set its sight on the next phase of healthcare transformation – risk-based care. Only superior organizations poised with operational and clinical excellence will be able to transition to this progressive level of patient health accountability.
“I would tell anyone their choices made in healthcare might very well be the most life-saving or life-threatening decisions they ever make. Quality in healthcare is a broad spectrum and there is no switch, no quick trip, no amount of financial resources that can easily replace the years of investment and dedication necessary to become a high-performing health system. It’s a steadfast commitment demanded of the organization and everyone in it. We’re talking about people’s health – people’s lives. There really is no other right path or right choice and I’m glad Premier made that decision nearly two decades ago.” – Mark DeRubeis, Premier CEO