"Most inspiring for me was seeing participants become inspired and enthusiastic about tools and topics I presented. I was able to see a twinkle in the eyes of clinicians who felt reinvigorated and energized about their passion: providing quality primary care to patients while enjoying themselves."
Having worked with CIPCI for two and a half years, I consider myself relatively aware of the current climate in primary care. I helped with the inaugural implementation of the Primary Care Office of the Future exhibit in May 2014, and thus I was able to see some of the workflows, tools, and technology that will be utilized by primary care teams in the near future. However, presenting at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Conference on Practice Improvement was an entirely new and unique experience for me.
Process mapping is a major part of our work on the Anatomy and Physiology of Primary Care – it gives an immediate visual sense of the steps involved in care as well as the people involved in each step. The process maps also allow us to document three different aspects of visit time, which we characterize as value-added (or not) from the patient perspective: Value-Added, Essential Non-Value-Added, and Non-Value-Added.
Clearly understanding how the structure of primary care practices affect their function – what we term the anatomy and physiology of primary care – is a logical foundation for any transformation effort.
I attended an inspirational talk given by the Distinguished Professor in Women’s Health award winner, Dr. Melissa McNeil, at the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) annual conference. Dr. McNeil gave the proverbial work-life balance talk with a unique perspective, which she called “Life Lessons Learned.” As a primary care physician, a mom, and a person with too many interests to count, balancing my life seems like a constant transfer of time from one area to another. I think her points are excellent in general, but especially for primary care providers who are trying to survive the mountain of paperwork and patient needs.
I am a hands-on visual learner so, as a doctor, I like to draw information for my patients and occasionally join them in making healthy lifestyle changes. Already this year, I have done the 30-day ab challenge, 21 days to a new healthy habit, and started running again to support two patients doing a “Couch-to-5K Program”. So, it was an easy decision to join a fellow doctor in trying a vegan diet for 30 days.
"Doc, I found this on the web. What do you think?" - This ever increasing statement from our patients and their family members is often followed by a discussion during which a substantial amount of time can be spent fact-checking and encouraging good web-browsing habits for healthcare information discovery.
So is there value in this for our patients? For me as a self-motivated exerciser, a heart rate monitor is probably a better investment. But this is not a device for the “exerciser”. This is a motivational and educational device for patients that have never learned how to exercise. For the truly sedentary patient, an activity tracker can be both a motivator and educator.