Team Care and EHRs Are Key to Preventive Medicine

The question facing health care organizations today is daunting: “How are we going to efficiently and effectively care for millions of new patients, many with chronic illnesses, and many who have never had access to routine health care in the past?”

At Franciscan Health System in Tacoma, Washington, we face the same problems as other health care systems. With 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians, and 46,000 hospital admissions plus 460,000 outpatient procedures, we fully understand the challenges of health care delivery today. However, we’ve found that the best approach to population management lies in a culture shift from treating lives at risk to a system where we front-load our attention to preventive medicine. Two things will allow us to be successful:

  • Team-based care which opens up access and enables physicians to extend their reach by adding certified physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), care managers, health coaches, pharmacists, and others to the medical care team.
  • Electronic health records (EHR) technology connecting all providers with a complete and up-to-date medical record.