Happy 1-year Anniversary Our Family Doctor!!

It’s hard to believe that a full year has passed since we opened our doors as a new practice here in Asheville. While we certainly had some growing pains at the onset (as was to be expected), the OFD team is happy to share that we feel we have come a long way toward achieving our stated Mission of “Providing Exceptional Care and a Superior Patient Experience”.

More specifically, the outstanding practice team that we had hoped to assemble is now all here, the internal systems that we had hoped to develop and improve upon have been implemented, and our vision of becoming a Patient Centered Medical Home is well under way. In as much, I wanted to update our patients (and future patients reading this blog) as to some of the highlights from this past year as well as some of what we plan on adding during our second year.

Listed here (in no particular order) is an incomplete list of major OFD 2011-2012 highlights:

  • Incorporation of the Allscripts Professional PM/EHR software.
  • The beginning of the retirement of thousands of paper charts (many thanks to Laura Horton our Medical Records Coordinator for this ongoing effort).
  • Attestation for Meaningful Use of our EHR which will bring in promised government funding to help offset the costs of implementing EHR and PCMH directives and services. Many thanks to our Practice Manager Karen Fisher for her tireless (and ongoing) efforts with this process.
  • The introduction of our Premier Plan which among other things offers email access between our patients and their personal physicians.
  • The development of the Clinical Coordinator position that has been expertly filled by Scott Elliot. Among other things, Scott has been very instrumental in tightening up our OSHA compliance, our vaccine (NCIR) compliance, orchestrating our team of Medical Assistants, and participating on the PCMH planning team.
  • Expanding our access to patients by offering after-hours clinics on both Monday and Wednesday evenings, as well as Saturday mornings.
  • Offering our first set of community classes in Nutrition (led by Fred Stichel) and Mindfulness (led by Scott Elliot). These free and open classes have been very well received by our patients and will be repeated and expanded upon in subsequent quarters.
  • Receiving hundreds of positive comments from patients both in person and through our patient surveys as to how well we are dong as a practice toward meeting their expectations.
  • Developing both an active website and Facebook presence that has enabled our practice to communicate with our patients more effectively.

As we look to Year 2 at Our Family Doctor, the theme that will guide our practice team will be “improved quality of care” for our patients as measured by evidence-based reporting measures. This will be achieved not just through our pursuit of Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) certification, but through the development of systems and workflows that will enable OFD to actually “walk the walk” as a medical home. Patients will “experience” these changes via better access to care, better coordination of care, better communication with the OFD team and better clinical outcomes over time. Much of these improvements will be aided by the addition of an OFD patient portal and better case management. Stay tuned for specific updates on these and other improvements as they are rolled out.

OFD also plans to roll out two new directives that will add considerable value to the office visit experience. Beginning this Fall we will offer (by appointment) visits with our associate Nutritionist Fred Stichel to discuss dietary and lifestyle changes for our Diabetic and medically Obese patients. These visits will be covered by insurance and be part of the overall physician prescribed care plan for any patient who is interested in this option. Additionally, look for disease-specific and wellness-based patient educational videos (in exam rooms) for patients who desire them before or after visits with their physicians. Naturally there will be other exciting additions and improvements over the course of this second year.

While the healthcare landscape in our country is ever changing (sometimes for the better, and sometimes not), we at Our Family Doctor are riding the wave of change with a singular focus on improving the care of our patients. We want to thank you all for joining us on this journey.

Michael Weizman, MD