January 2014 | Practice Coaching
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Practice Coaches Light the Way

Primary care is at a crossroads. Practices are transforming from procedure-based, physician-centric care delivery to more advanced primary care models that put patients and their families at the center. AF4Q Alliances are supporting practices in their community through this transition in a variety of ways including practice coaching. Today's edition of Spotlight showcases how practice coaching can help improve ambulatory care.

What's a practice coach?

Practice coaches, usually outside experts, work with primary care practices to implement a variety of changes that improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency. Practice coaches are health care professionals who help practices effectively navigate the challenging—and rewarding—process of making lasting change. By providing ongoing mentoring in employing quality improvement concepts and technical assistance, coaches help practices define and achieve improvements in patient care.

Over the past three years, nine of the 16 AF4Q Alliances have developed practice coaching programs to support primary care practices in reaching defined goals and outcomes related to chronic illness care, access and efficiency, preventive services, self-management support, and care transitions while increasing these practices’ internal capacity to build quality improvement into their daily work. In these communities, practice coaching has become an integral component of their continuous quality improvement.

Explore More:

PCMH and Practice Coaching
Since 2007, the Cleveland AF4Q Alliance has sought to improve primary care practices, especially focusing on issues like diabetes and high blood pressure that can be well managed outside of a hospital. To help primary care practices reach their potential, the Cleveland Alliance encourages adoption of the “patient-centered medical home model,” which is the gold standard model for care. The model emphasizes care coordination, stronger doctor and patient engagement, improved access, proactive interventions, and thoughtful management of chronic conditions.
From onsite practice coaching, to fostering team-based care, to using electronic registries to proactively manage patients’ health care needs, the Cleveland AF4Q Alliance has offered hands-on assistance to primary care practices in transition. The goal has been to offer care that is more focused on quality and safety. Read more.
Partnering with Patients

Humboldt County and South Central Pennsylvania operate projects in which patient volunteers and their primary care physicians and practice staff work together on quality improvement (QI) teams. Patient partners undergo an orientation to establish expectations, introduce QI methodology, and learn techniques for working effectively as a team. These partnerships have produced improved appointment access, enhanced support mechanisms for patients with chronic illness, and improved clinic work flows.

Watch this video to learn more about the South Central Pennsylvania AF4Q Alliance Planned Care Collaborative and Patient Partner programs.

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care and provide models for national reform. Alliance teams represent the people who get care, give care, and pay for care.
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