Innovative Clinical Pilot Leads to Advocacy for Large Scale Systems Change
CHI Health Care’s focus on the need for large scale systems shifts began in 2013 when it established its non-profit 501(c)(3) and began piloting an innovative community health care center in a fledgling version of a “Whole Health” system of care. Our “in the trenches” experience launched our current work in advocacy, health policy, and Whole Health systems transformation.
CHI’s new model of care challenged the traditional health system and its practices. It was founded on the belief that health and wellness are best achieved by offering patients and their loved ones comprehensive, team based, highly coordinated care. It is an intensively collaborative blending of high tech western medicine together with a wide array evidence based “high touch, low tech” healing disciplines, as well as nutrition and lifestyle education and coaching. CHI’s team model included primary care, clinical psychology, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, integrative nutrition, health coaching, massage therapy, yoga therapy, and energy healing. Integrated into our personalized care plans, these services were designed to heal and strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of each individual, while enhancing quality of life and helping each patient to achieve their personal health goals.
A key principle of the CHI Health Care model is that health care is better served by a payment system that rewards quality of care and outcomes, better known as Value Based Care. This is different than the more common Fee for Service payment system which incentivizes high numbers of visits and procedures over quality and accountability.
The CHI Health Care model places a high priority on spending time with patients to truly get to know them. There is growing evidence that shows when practitioners build a strong, consistent relationship with their patients, health outcomes are markedly better. It takes time to get to know someone’s fears, hopes, goals, challenges, support systems, environment, and community. From this comprehensive perspective, optimal health is created through a patient/practitioner partnership that inspires one toward health and what matters to them, not what’s the matter with them.
We found our model could “bend the cost curve” of rising health care costs while at the same time our practitioners experienced less feelings of “burn out” and higher fulfillment. Our staff had access to many of the whole health approaches we offered our patients. Health professionals at CHI could do more of what they were trained to do practicing in a way that was person-centered, relationship based, and highly collaborative.
The data we collected during our 6-year pilot demonstrated that 95% of patients were highly satisfied with our care and that our patients used fewer urgent care services, less prescription medication, and a had lower hospital admission and readmission rates compared to comparable conventional practices.
CHI Health Care is focused on leveraging the invaluable lessons learned during its clinical pilot to catalyze a necessary comprehensive change in our national healthcare system away from a reactive, illness-based approach to a pro-active, wellness approach. Using well established applications of system dynamics and health systems engineering that have been successfully applied in other industries, CHI Health Care is strategically engaging high leverage health sector stakeholders and influencers in a collaborative process designed to shift the nation’s health paradigm.