To qualify, the clinic had to meet high standards for patient support systems, and show a model of care that combines teamwork and information technology, said Cindy Pena, communications manager for the Quality Assurance committee.
The certification focuses on partnerships between personal care-givers and their patients – including when they are well.
“Patient-centered care is of course based on getting well when you are sick or injured, but it also means clinicians and patients having a more long-term relationship when you are not sick to learn about preventative care practices,” Pena said.
Under the patient-centered model, clinics take a team effort that has a more coordinated treatment approach across the health-care system. For example, it is designed to better recognize when specialists need to be brought in, and helps to monitor medication regimens to avoid dangerous mixing.
NCQA president Margaret O’Kane said qualifying for the program is tough and lengthy. It includes months of review, requires clinics to keep electronic patient records so they can be more easily shared with other medical providers, implements adjustments to improve patient-care practices, and includes an on-site tour of the clinic by outside medical professionals.
“The practice must prove it’s available to patients after hours and online,” O’Kane said. “It must show that it’s nurturing relationships and involving the patient more in decision-making. It must illustrate how it is working with them to stay healthy instead of only treating them when they are sick.”
She said their research shows that the higher standards of the patient-centered medical program can lead to higher quality care and lower costs.
Overall, there are over 71,600 clinicians recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance across the country.
The private, non-profit accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. Their Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. The ncqa.org website contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.
For more information on the Dove Creek Community Health Clinic visit their website at dovecreekclinic.org, or give them a call at 970-677-2291. The clinic is located at 495 W. 4th Street in Dove Creek.