Being available to our patients means so much more than it used to. It means offering new and different ways for patients to get health care – even in the middle of the night. It means taking time to focus on wellness and preventive health at each and every visit. It means making sure a patient who is discharged from the hospital doesn’t really leave our care.  Above all, it’s continuing to sharpen our focus on giving the care we would want to receive – with the greatest care and love.

Providing coordinated care starts with the understanding that there is no such thing as my patient.

“We just keep getting better as seeing patients as our patients,” said Lois Bentler-Lampe, Vice President of Clinical Services for OSF Home Care Services. “Who do we need to talk to for the best care for the patients? That’s what we want to do.”

Thoracic_Surgery_TeamLast year, OSF HealthCare improved coordination of care for patients by improving communication among all levels of care. From our inpatient and OSF Medical Group care managers, to the OSF Care Management Center of Expertise that helps patients transition from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility, to the many services provided by OSF Home Care Services, they strengthened their commitment to work together for patients. And when what the patient needs is outside the health system, that’s where they go to find it.

Now, when the hospital case management team identifies a patient who could use some extra care after hospitalization, home health is engaged while the patient is still in the hospital. OSF Medical Group physicians and complex case managers know they can reach out to one another to make sure patients’ needs are being met. This collaboration and communication among all levels of care ensure patients are getting the right care, when and where they need it.

“We no longer think of patients as being discharged from the hospital or Home Care,” said Hoa Cooper, Vice President, OSF Care Management. “We don’t discharge them. We transition them to the appropriate level of care. That frames the mindset that they are always in our care, regardless of where they are receiving care.”

Life can be busier than ever these days. For patients, this means that quick, convenient access to care is critical. OSF HealthCare in 2015 introduced OSF OnCall, a virtual urgent care service that offers 24/7 access to a provider from the comfort of a patient’s home, office or anywhere else life takes them. By using their smartphone, computer or tablet, a patient can connect with a board-certified provider ready to diagnose and treat them.

Mission_Partner_Broch_Sarah_OnCallThis service doesn’t replace a patient’s primary care physician, but offers an additional option for non-emergency health issues such as sinus infections, rashes, allergies, pink eye and more. OSF OnCall eliminates the need for travel, reduces time spent in a waiting room and offers access any time of the day or night. It also provides the right level of care at the right time, before a condition escalates. The service integrates with our electronic medical record, so information from an online visit is accessible to a patient’s primary care physician for any follow-up needed.

Mission_Partner_Broch_Pt_Exp_RHCA few years back, OSF Medical Group clinical leadership took an interest in a recognition program offered by the National Committee for Quality Assurance called Patient Centered Medical Home. The more they looked, the more they realized Medical Home principles are simply better care. It’s a care model that provides a framework for partnering with patients to better manage their health. It’s also a promise to our patients that we embrace team-based care that is coordinated and evidence-based. After working to incorporate the many principles into our care, 52 of our Illinois family practice, internal medicine and pediatric sites earned Level 3 recognition in 2012 from the NCQA – the highest level. What’s more, our Michigan primary care sites earned similar recognition from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

In 2015, the standards to achieve Patient Centered Medical Home were even more stringent, but just as valuable to patient care. We didn’t hesitate to strive for the highest level. All 60 of our primary care sites that sought recognition earned it at Level 3. Our patients may not know what Patient Centered Medical Home recognition is, but they sure appreciate what it brings to the care they receive every day.