While health systems across the country are implementing team-based care, few are doing it in exactly the same way. But many are doing it for the same reasons.
“There’s never any straightforward or easy patient anymore,” said James Jerzak, MD, of Bellin Health, in Green Bay, Wisc. “In Wisconsin, the copays and the deductibles are huge. So every office visit is jammed with a lot of questions, and it can be really overwhelming to the individual clinician.”
Dr. Jerzak, a family medicine physician, made his remarks in a recent presentation, “Restoring Joy in Practice through Team-Based Care,” at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). UIC is a part of the Great Lakes Practice Transformation Network, a regional group that encompasses Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Practice transformation networks are peer-based learning networks designed to coach, mentor and assist physician practices and health care systems.
Team-based care, he explained, is a means to an end: effective population health management. But it can deliver another, equally positive effect.
“This is what solves the burnout problem in this country,” he said. “It’s not some of these other things that put band-aids on it. You have to take away the causes of burnout—the EHR demands and the demands of the complicated visits.”
Bellin Health is a relatively small health system, with 35 clinics, one hospital and about 150 physicians and other health care professionals. It is primarily fee-for-service, and its leadership knows the impending shift to value-based payment will require changes in how care is delivered.
Expanding some roles, narrowing others
The best way to improve quality measures, Dr. Jerzak has found, is to get the physician out of the picture and let the team handle a lot of tasks.