Carolinas HealthCare System

Patients First: Primary Care Launched

Zeev Neuwirth, MD Zeev Neuwirth, MD
Chief Clinical Executive
Carolinas Health Care System
Medical Group

While there are times when the national conversation around healthcare is often fraught with negativity and uncertainty, here at Carolinas HealthCare System, our dialogue is focused on finding solutions.

Last week, our leaders formally announced a System-wide initiative that has been underway for the past year called, "Patients First: Primary Care." This project is focused on identifying and testing solutions, solutions we believe will transform how we provide care.

Hundreds of physicians, providers and additional experts have been collaborating to create a newly unified primary care service line that shifts from a volume-based system to a value-based system of care.

"This project provides providers with an unprecedented opportunity to be involved from the ground up in creating a new way to deliver integrated care," said Zeev Neuwirth, MD, president, chief clinical executive of Carolinas Health Care System Medical Group. "We are in the process of creating a system of care that patients will seek out, choose and return to time and time again based on our reliability, care, convenient access and ease of use."

A proactive approach to patient care will be emphasized. "Our new care delivery will not be episodic – we will promote health, not just treat sickness," said Dr. Neuwirth.

The new model will also significantly enhance a provider's workflow and provide much needed support. "A wide range of clinicians including advanced care practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and health coaches will work together in a more integrated fashion to help patients, and providers as well," added Paul S. Franz, executive vice president, Carolinas HealthCare System. "This team approach, led by providers, will provide patient care in-between visits, virtually, in shared medical appointments and other new ways we're testing now in pilots."

Currently, in phase one of the "Patients First: Primary Care" initiative, new processes are being developed and tested through five targeted work groups and multiple pilots. When these teams conclude their work by the end of the year, projected project results include a single, sustainable, value-centric delivery model to deploy throughout the System.

"It is a new day in medicine. The old model of care simply is not sustainable any longer," said Dr. Neuwirth. "A wide range of market forces – from federal healthcare reform to medical care being offered in the retail environment – are new factors threatening the economic vitality of healthcare systems. However, we have a choice to define our future and not let these outside forces define us."

To learn more, we invite you to view the following video, featuring several physicians involved in Patients First: Primary Care.