(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) launched a free online database that identifies innovative primary care workforce training programs throughout the U.S. It focuses specifically on programs that emphasize interprofessional, comprehensive, care team models, which are optimal for emerging delivery models, such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The database includes more than 100 programs from a range of institutions, including academic medical centers, community health centers, integrated health systems, and universities. The database was developed under the leadership of PCPCC’s Education & Training Task Force. Access the database here.
“High-performing care teams help ensure that a patient’s entire spectrum of needs are being met, and will often include a range of skills and expertise, including nurses, social workers, behavioral health specialists, and mental health providers,” said PCPCC CEO, Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH. “We are thrilled to provide this helpful, interactive resource that highlights the work of true innovators in the field of primary care education and training.”
The database is being revealed at a critical time for primary care. The U.S. health care system continues to be overwhelmed with demand for primary care services from the newly insured, a significant aging population, and a growing prevalence in chronic disease, mental health and behavior related conditions.Team-based care provides a comprehensive approach to primary care that will require a considerable shift in education and training of the primary care workforce.
“We are delighted to have laid the foundation for a valuable resource that will help health professionals, academics, and students understand and evaluate training programs around the country and their focus on patient-centered, collaborative, team-based care,” said Bill Warning, MD, FAAFP, Program Director, Family Medicine Residency Program, Crozer-Keystone Health System and Co-Chair of the PCPCC’s Education & Training Task Force.
While it is estimated that over half of primary care visits are related to conditions caused by behavior-related conditions and mental health issues, many clinicians in primary care settings have not yet been adequately prepared to identify, treat or prevent such conditions.
“As the health needs of the population have shifted to the management of chronic diseases and their significant behavioral components, it is critical that the primary care workforce be prepared to work in interprofessional teams,” said Cynthia Belar, PhD, ABPP, Executive Director, Education Directorate, American Psychological Association, and Co-Chair of the PCPCC’s Education & Training Task Force.
A care team model is also well known for its ability to improve the efficiency and operations of primary care practices. Conservative estimates suggest that team members can offset 15 percent of the time a physician spends on patient care outside of visits. Many programs are training health coaches, care coordinators, medical assistants, and nurses to reduce clerical and certain clinical tasks, allowing physicians to spend more time with complex patients, extend a practice’s hours, expand patient panels, and enhance each patient’s experience and relationship with their providers.
“Primary care is a team sport, and we are excited about the work being done by institutions throughout the country to advance a new vision for primary care that incorporates the diverse skills and expertise of each team member,” Andrew Morris-Singer, MD, President and Principal Founder of Primary Care Progress.
A featured program includes the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s program Education in Patient Aligned Care Teams (EdPACT); one of five programs providing an educational counterpart to the VA’s national Patient-Aligned Care Team (PACT) initiative.
“We are delighted to participate in this effort, and take great pride in our program’s emphasis on interprofessional collaboration,” Rebecca Shunk, MD, the EdPACT program’s co-director. “This model of care has helped us break down our silos, and if replicated by others holds tremendous promise for strengthening the delivery of primary care and improving the patient experience.”
For a full list of training programs, visit: www.pcpcc.org/training.