Collaborative Care for a Healthier America
Yesterday was the official kick-off for the 2010 Collaborative Family Healthcare Association’s 12th Annual Conference, in beautiful downtown Louisville, Kentucky. I was fortunate enough to attend an afternoon Preconference Workshop today led by, Alexander Blount, EdD and Ronald Adler, MD, FAAFP, called “Orientation to Collaborative Care for Mental Health Specialists,” and am really glad that I did.
Working with Dr. Adam Kaplin on Mood 24/7 has put me on a Mental Health crash course over the past three months. I wanted get a general understanding of Mental Health and Primary Care today, because my friend Ben Miller is so passionate about it. What the workshop offered was insight into a current Collaborative Care facility, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, with integrated Behavioral Health Services.
It was great.
THE HIGH POINTS
Primary Care and Morbidity I found it to be interesting that there were stats on Primary Care physicians and morbidity. Apparently Medicare/Medicaid ran the numbers in 2000 and for every ONE new Primary Care Physician per 10,000 people, morbidity rates drop 5%. In other words, there are 40 fewer deaths per 100,000 people for every new Primary Care Physician in the system.
Why We Like Our Docs An official room poll of the 30 workshop participants revealed, unanimously, that people like their Primary Care Physician because of the relationships they’ve established with them over time, and because they have access to get in and be seen in a jiffy. Of note, nobody in the room stated that they loved their Primary Care Doctors because of their clairvoyant ability to diagnose conditions. The take away being that people like doctors for reasons other than aptitude. The television show House comes to mind…
Empowering Patients The presenters had found that making patients play an active roll in their care pays big dividends in care quality, as well as in problem resolution. What struck me most was the simplicity of their solution… the English language. For example:
- Patients don’t suffer from ailments, they struggle with them
- Patients don’t refuse to take medication, they decide against taking medication
- Patients don’t miss appointments, they were unable to be here
- Patients aren’t non-compliant, they haven’t seen the value of X yet
- Patients don’t arrive late, they were determined not to miss their appointment
It’s amazing to me how such a subtle difference can make a huge impact. Treating patients as part of the care equation, instead of the reason for the need for care, is huge. And it can be as simple as changing the way that we talk about things.
Data Data Data So I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t ask what the presenters thought about individuals tracking their own data in a PHR, to fill in the gaps between visits. I mean, I can tell my doc that I exercise three times a week… or my pedometer can show her that I do. And after all, doesn’t the word Collaborative in the term Collaborative Care imply that the patient is doing some of the collaborating? The answer was yes. It seemed that most people (I was the only non-medical professional in the room) felt that patients tracking their own data was a good thing. That was great to see, because I believe there is a bright future for the Empowered Patient Movement and feel that tracking our own data is where it’s at.
COLLABORATIVE CARE & BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
All in all, it was a great experience, today. I got to hang out with a bunch of forward thinking med pros and learn about a different twist on a subject that is becoming near and dear to my heart, Mental Health. Be sure to follow the conference on Twitter through Saturday at #CFHA.