J Clin Outcomes Manage
Using virtual teams to improve the care of chronically ill patients
Rothschild SK, Lapidos S, Minnick A, Fogg L, Catrambone C
OBJECTIVE: To describe an interdisciplinary team approach to chronic disease management in the primary care outpatient setting. METHODS: Virtual Integrated Practice (VIP) relies on communications technology to link clinicians from different disciplines at different locations. VIP teams work together to develop explicit patient care goals in a specific clinical problem area. Four strategies are used: planned communications, process standardization, group activities, and patient self-management. The conditions currently being targeted in VIP are type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and urinary incontinence. To assess use of VIP strategies and patient satisfaction, a pilot study was conducted in 8 practices (4 intervention, 4 control). RESULTS: Use of strategies varied at the 4 intervention sites. All 4 practices used process standardization. Only 1 used group activities. Patients have provided positive feedback and patient satisfaction has not declined. CONCLUSION: The VIP strategy can be successfully introduced into primary care practices.
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