Well it’s done. The practice is almost complete and we’re a few weeks away from opening. A seven-year journey is about to come to a close, or perhaps a new wakening, as Emerald Medical Group transitions from a family owned to a community owned practice contained within the Central Highlands Health facility.
What does it all mean, when we say that the community owns the practice? Why did I choose to transition a busy practice to a community model? There are many answers I could give but at its essence Emerald Medical Group has grown up, it needs new governance, a formal business structure and leadership to sustain both ongoing services and grow new health care opportunities. Emerald Medical group has grown into something that should live on beyond my own involvement too.
To do this we chose to develop a community model with the key aim of creating a primary care service that is responsive to local health priorities, and addresses the issues of equity and access that underpin the lower health status of rural people and through reinvesting profits grow a sustainable and resilient health organization.
There have been many conversations and in the last 2 years the formation of a Community Governance model underpinned by consultation with politicians, academic bodies, service providers, people with chronic disease and the community in general.
At its core though Emerald Medical Group will remain fundamentally a General practice, with a strong focus on education and training of the next generation of Doctors, Nurses and other health professionals.
The Vision is that the new facility will form the focal point of a health precinct that will promote and develop a comprehensive response to Emerald’s health needs. We will explore how we can get more services, better communication and better connections between patients, carers, hospitals and specialists through a partnership with a known General Practice team.
Emerald Medical Group also seeks to become a Health Care Home for the broader community. We have some challenges ahead as we transition to a new model. A Health Care Home is a concept around defining the type of service that places people at the centre of care.
The key underpinnings of what we intend to achieve are as follows:
Person Centered Care
– support continuity of care provider
– have patient advisory groups that support system redesign
– have structures to improve patient self management
– provide whole of life family practice
– have systems that support acute, routine, and chronic disease care patient streams
– support continuity of care provider
– have a multi-disciplinary Medical Home team
– have systems in place for proactive, systematic chronic disease management
– utilize practice nurses as chronic disease managers
– proved electronic health summaries on the national system for appropriate patients
– have systems to maintain accountability for a patient’s care though all contacts with the health system
– are committed to same day appointments for all patients that require urgent care
– are committed to minimizing the delay for routine appointments
– provide 24-hour accessibility for patients to clinical advice and extended hours for face-to-face after hours contact when needed
Focus on Quality and Safety
– are accredited to the Royal Australian College of General practice and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine standards.
– participate in improvement programs that will be delivered by the health network PHN Country to Coast
The last 23 years have flown so quickly and it has been a great honour to serve the community of Emerald. The next twenty look exciting as the Community now have an opportunity to invest in quality care, equity and access. Welcome to the future and welcome to our Journey together