- A value-based care strategy from the Navy Bureau of Medicine (BUMED) has proven effective in improving patient satisfaction, outcomes, and care coordination, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst.
The integrated practice unit (IPU) model helps organizations overcome inefficiencies and care fragmentation by coordinating care between co-located providers who work together to address a patient’s specific clinical needs.
“Patients have a single point of contact, experience coordinated care, and have their goals and needs drive their care,” the research team explained.
Partnership leaders conducted several pilots at the Navy Hospital Jacksonville in Florida, including programs targeted towards diabetes, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, and complicated pregnancy care.
Each IPU developed a roadmap that outlined the typical standard of care and plan of treatment for the condition in question.
From there, IPU teams met with patients, explained the roadmaps, and collected patient feedback. Patient feedback informed roadmap revisions, ensuring that each care plan met all patient needs.
When observing the revisions, the researchers found that most of the initial roadmaps were geared towards provider needs instead of patient needs. Specifically, initial roadmaps met provider needs for use of medical resources, frequency of lab testing, and timing of follow-up appointments.
These findings highlighted the importance for clinicians to collect patient preferences as a means to correct for clinician biases.
The pilot wraps up in October, but preliminary results indicate a success, the researchers reported. Thus far, the quality improvement strategy is delivering on promises to improve patient experience and care coordination.
“Most patients saw IPU days as a ‘time saver’ and agreed that it helped them to have a care navigator who understood their ‘story’ and challenges, removed barriers to care, and wrangled follow-up appointments,” the research team reported.
The IPU strategy has also improved clinician satisfaction.
“Providers found the IPU structure accommodating for themselves and their patients,” the researchers said. “Primary care and internal medicine providers felt able to work more fully with patients within their scope of expertise, knowing that other providers would address specific complementary needs.”
While final results are still pending, the researchers concluded that the value-based care model helps Navy BUMED deliver on its goals to improve patient satisfaction while driving better health outcomes at lower costs.
“The VBC pilot is allowing Navy Medicine to test whether it can better achieve its mission by providing beneficiaries coordinated, integrated care through an IPU model focused on meeting patient needs and quality-of-life priorities,” the research team concluded. “Early results indicate that such a model could prove beneficial to Navy Medicine.”
These results may also have future implications for healthcare professionals outside of Navy BUMED, pilot leaders posited.