CINCINNATI—Eric Warm, MD, medical director of the resident ambulatory practice at the University of Cincinnati, is being given the Society of General Internal Medicine’s (SGIM) Clinical Practice Innovation Award, recognizing innovative clinical practices that improve care.
Warm, also program director of the internal medicine residency program at UC and associate professor of medicine, is being presented with the award at the SGIM’s annual meeting in Minneapolis Friday, April 30, 2010.
"I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the Academic Health Center and my entire team at the ambulatory clinic,” he says. "This award is recognizing their hard work in improving care for all of our patients.”
SGIM’s Clinical Practice Innovation Award is designed to recognize clinical practices that demonstrate successful practice innovation to improve care in six "quality” domains: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equality.
Warm and his team received the award in part because of the amount of resident involvement in the clinic and the overall feasibility of replicating clinic innovations in place at UC at other institutions.
"We have established a long-block from the 17th to the 29th month of residency, where residents are expected to follow approximately 120-150 patients each, hold office hours and tend to patient needs by answering messages and refilling medicine,” he says.
In addition, Warm says the clinic is organized in every way to focus on patient care, from implementing a patient-centered medical home to regularly integrating patient care into meetings.
"We have a team meeting every Monday, and we always start out with a patient story. Sometimes the stories are funny or heartwarming, but other times, they help point out flaws in our system and help us come up with solutions to improve the care we provide,” he says. "Occasionally, we also invite patients to sit in and relay their experiences to help us improve.”
Warm says electronic medical records are used in the clinic and that performance patterns/data are collected and assessed to improve processes.
"Patient satisfaction has steadily increased over the past 10 years, with the greatest increases and highest values achieved over the past four year of long-block reorganization,” he says. "On a scale of 1 to 10, on average, patients rated our physicians a 9. Our residents also noted an increase in job satisfaction following implementation of the long-block.”
Data also shows an increase in preventative measures taken by patients at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
"We are by no means perfect, and there is always room to improve,” Warm says. "However, we are on the right track to keeping patients accountable for their own health and for training top-quality physicians who will one day be able to implement these practices in their own clinics.”