It’s Your Body…Care For It

It’s Your Body…Care For It

The discussion surrounding health care typically regurgitates costs, insurance carriers, federal regulation and the business of health care. If your body could talk, what would it tell you?

A recent study by USC and UCLA says you, the patient, have more influence over your health than any other power on the planet. The focus was on patient-centered programs and the satisfaction scores derived.

The study, published on Sept. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, outlined how the program known as the Galaxy model can work effectively in public settings. Funding was provided by a three-year $750,000 grant from UniHealth Foundation.

Developed by Dr. David Goldstein, associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and division chief of geriatric, hospital, palliative and general internal medicine at LAC+USC Medical Center, the model aims to improve access to patient care and satisfaction of residents choosing primary care, a field that is facing a severe shortage.

“My hope was that the Galaxy would reveal that a minimal investment and reorientation in delivery focused on the patient and enhanced access to care could improve the satisfaction of patients, staff and physicians, even in an underfunded public environment,” Dr. Goldstein said in a press release. “I think it’s worked out. It’s not rocket science.”

The model provides 24/7 access to physicians, urgent clinic appointments available within hours and coordinated care in an ambulatory environment. Researchers tested this program at three primary care internal medicine clinics at LAC+USC, an urban academic medical center serving a safety net population.

It called for creating a call center staffed by two care coordinators, telephone renewals of prescriptions and up to five urgent care appointments available each day. Patients and staff offered their input in the focus groups.

The researchers surveyed patients and residents before the intervention and then again a year later.

“The study findings also support further investment in primary care, particularly in teaching settings where the next generation of primary care leaders will be developed,” said Dr. Michael Hochman, the study’s lead author. Hochman conducted the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA’s division of general internal medicine and health services research. “What we did here was to move in the direction of a team-based approach, and it resulted in improved satisfaction for physicians in training with their primary care experiences.”

Is it any surprise that the findings support further investment in primary care? No disrespect to USC and UCLA, but did we need to spend $750,000 to tell us this?

Your body has all the wisdom and healing powers necessary to live a full and vibrant life. It is only our easily-influenced brain that causes us to confuse health care with disease management.

To learn more, get a copy of my book, Dead End Medicine on Amazon and learn not only the challenges of our failing health care system, but what we can all do to be healthier.

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