HOUSTON (July 28, 2011)

Clinically-integrated program will involve independent physicians of every specialty

MHMD, the physician network of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston, is implementing a new program that will provide major improvements in medical care at the level of the primary care physician practice. Called Advanced Primary Care Practices or Advanced PCPs, the program is being developed in collaboration with Memorial Hermann.

MHMD Advanced PCPs is a patient-centered medical home initiative that builds on the organization's groundbreaking clinical integration program that brings Memorial Hermann medical staff physicians together in a common commitment to quality and accountability.

Unlike other models of integration that are based on physicians being employed by a single entity, the MHMD clinical integration program involves independent physicians of every specialty throughout the Houston area who commit to provide medical care according to common patient-centered medical home practice principles.

A natural evolution of clinical integration, Advanced Practices are characterized by the comprehensive care of patients by a team of physicians, nurses, and other caregivers who collectively treat acute and chronic medical conditions and oversee wellness programs.

The purpose is to create a meaningful, sustainable partnership between the patient and the provider that will enhance access to care that is evidence-based, ensure coordination of care in all settings, improve health, and increase satisfaction.

"MHMD's Advanced Primary Care Practices will usher in a new era of health care for Memorial Hermann-affiliated physicians and their patients," said Keith Fernandez, MD, chairman of the board, MHMD. "Health care is more complex and more difficult to navigate then it has ever been. This collaboration between the healthcare system and its affiliated physicians will translate into better care at significant cost savings."

Central to Advanced PCPs is the embedding of innovative information technology, including a point-of-care tool and the Memorial Hermann Information Exchange (MHiE). These will provide physicians and nurses with real-time, up-to-date information on the health status of each patient at the time of the actual patient visit or telephone call. Memorial Hermann is among the top technology-driven healthcare systems in the nation and is recognized as being a pioneer in clinical integration in Texas.

Utilizing MHiE will enable the Advanced Practices to share clinical data with each other in a privacy-protected manner that will help avoid unnecessary duplication of medical services. For instance, physicians can be prompted to order and schedule needed tests and vaccinations, or alerted to changes in medications made by other physicians. Moreover, they can be notified of abnormal lab values and prompted to intervene appropriately.

Primary care physicians participating in the Advanced PCPs program must practice evidence-based medicine, and evaluate and report their performance on nationally accepted and validated clinical and satisfaction metrics. They will promote patient self-management and embrace patient registry data collection and electronic prescribing.

Additionally, physicians who are part of the Advanced PCPs program will engage in performance measurement and improvement activities. Conversely, patients will be encouraged to participate actively in decision-making and discussions to set and achieve healthcare goals and expectations.

"The patient-centered medical home is really the new model of healthcare for the 21st century," said Kevin Giglio, MD, an Advanced PCPs physician and one of the leaders of the program. "It combines family medicine's traditional hands-on approach with the latest technology and additional patient resources. The result is that patients receive the right care, at the right time, in the right setting. MHMD's Advanced Primary Care Practices will set a new standard of excellence in health care."