By Chelsea Buck
Ashley Clinic Sees Immediate Impact of Proactive Preventive CareChelsea Buck, RN, BSN, Case Manager, Ashley Clinic
The Ashley Clinic has been committed to providing the highest standard of care to residents and families of our community in southeast Kansas for over 75 years. In order to continue to uphold this mission, our clinic must always look for ways to improve our care. Last fall, we began an initiative that’s already made quite the impact at our practice.
Beginning last year, the Ashley Clinic began working with our Aledade ACO in Kansas to put a renewed focus on Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs). In the past, we had not emphasized AWVs, which resulted in only conducting a handful in 2014. In 2015, that changed. Aledade helped our team build a template and process for our AWVs. The Aledade team worked with us to ensure that both our patients and clinic could get the full potential out of AWVs. Now, our AWV process is in full swing, and as Case Manager I lead the team to coordinate patient identification, patient outreach, and administration of these visits
Our new goal is to conduct 75 AWVs a week to meet our target of about 4,000 in 2016.
What has motivated this ambitious AWV initiative?
Put simply, results. Within two months of formalizing our AWV process last year, we saw clear evidence of its value for our patients. Specifically, two patient stories stand out as exemplary cases for how AWVs can influence a patient’s health – and they only occurred a few weeks apart.
The first case is one in which our practice identified a patient as due for an AWV and contacted her to come into the office. If not for our phone call, she may not have set up an appointment to come into the office for months or more. As part of the AWV, we discovered the patient had not had a mammogram in six years. Additionally, as is part of every AWV, we assessed the patient’s medical and family history and found there was risk of breast cancer in the patient’s family. With this information, we explained the importance of regular mammograms to the patient and immediately got her scheduled for one.
The mammogram turned out to be abnormal and the patient was scheduled for a follow up sonogram, which revealed that the patient had early stage breast cancer. Thanks to our clinic proactively bringing the patient in to be seen for an AWV, the cancer was discovered during a treatable stage. The patient is now receiving the care she needs, having had a lumpectomy in March and moving forward with radiation therapy this month.
Another recent case demonstrated the impact AWVs can have not just on a patient’s health or health care, but on their general wellbeing. In December, during the course of an AWV, a patient explained to our staff that she lived in a home without running water or electricity – and had been for quite some time.
Concerned for the patient, and knowing that she could not operate the medical tools she needed in these living conditions, our team took action above and beyond providing medical care. Clinic staff helped the patient get assistance from the Kansas Department for Children and Families. Due to this, the patient now has both running water and electricity in her home. And, she is using the care tools she needs to maintain her health.
In just the few months after putting a greater focus on AWVs and implementing a workflow, our clinic has seen first-hand the impact they can have on our patients. That’s why, with the tools and continued help from Aledade, we are making AWVs such an integral part of the care we deliver. It’s important that our clinic not only provide high-quality care to our patients when they’re sick, but to take advantage of all the preventive services we can deliver to promote their health and wellbeing.