Inspiration Leadership Community
Stories of Innovation

Innovation occurs when we break free from an old way of thinking and embrace a more effective way of solving a problem or meeting a need. At Primary Care Progress, we believe the power of creative thinking is essential to transforming primary care. Across the country, clinicians have decided they can no longer wait on top-down change in the health care system. They’re taking primary care innovation into their own hands - trying out new models and approaches they hope will improve access to and quality of care, provide patients with an overall better experience and reduce the traditional clinician’s workload.  

What does innovation in primary care look like? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to innovation in primary care. Just as practices are unique - with different needs, strengths and challenges - so are their approaches to improving health care delivery. Innovations can be micro or macro. They might change the way a clinic is staffed. They might add iPads to the waiting room. Or they might find a way to introduce young minds to an inspiring field of medicine.
We've collected just a small handful of these stories in our video series, "Stories of Innovation." It's our way of sharing some of the unique and diverse stories of innovation with the primary care community. We hope these snapshots of innovative people and approaches might provide models, inspiration and ideas with the community. We hope they will encourage other innovators to keep going with their projects and to share their stories.

Share your innovation story with PCP.
Innovating Education: Future Faces of Family Medicine


Future Faces of Family Medicine or FFFM is one of the most inspiring approaches to supporting primary care that we've seen. The program was conceived by family medicine physicians Dr. Randi Sokol, Dr. Charlene Hauser and Dr. Alisha Dyer, when they were residents at UC Davis and Sutter Health. The (then) residents saw a need for a program to bring family medicine to young people - especially those from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds. With support from the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP)  as well as the cooperation of Sacramento High School, the residents created FFFM with great success. The program is a credited course in which approximately 20 students meet for discussions, hands-on workshops and patient care with family medicine residents. The program is currently expanding to additional schools. Read more on our blog.

This video was produced by PCP with the cooperation of the Future Faces of Family Medicine team including CAFF and Sacramento Charter High School.  
Videographers: Jenette Restivo (Primary Care Progress) and Chris Navalta (CAFP)
Producer/Editor: Jenette Restivo

Group Learning: Resident-Run Group Visits at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island

Family Medicine residents at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and the Alpert Medical School at Brown University lead group visits for patients living with diabetes. The visits, which are part of a new PCMH rotation within the residency, take on a team-based approach to delivering high quality care for patients. About the innovators:

Dr. David Ashley is Medical Director of Family Care. Fluent in Spanish, Dr. Ashley earned his medical degree at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He completed a family medicine residency at Memorial Hospital. In his role, Dr. Ashley works with the residents in the patient-centered medical home practice.

Dr. Jeff Borkan is a family physician researcher, educator, clinician and advocate whose career has bridged two fields (family medicine and medical anthropology), both in the U.S. and abroad (Israel, Tonga). Since medical school, he has been active in family medicine research, as well as being a practicing family physician and resident/student educator. For six years, he was the coordinator of a national practice-based research network and served as the director of research in a family medicine department for a decade. Concurrently, he managed the medical services of an isolated desert region in southern Israel, later joining a model teaching practice in the Galilee. He came to Brown after having been the Vice Chair of Behavioral Science at Tel Aviv University, coordinating a major humanistic curriculum reform there. At Brown, Dr. Borkan has spearheaded the growth of the Department of Family Medicine, has been active in Rhode Island health policy and has been president of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (2009-10).

Memorial Hospital's Family Care Center (FCC) opened in 1975 as a teaching facility and practice base for the Brown Family Medicine Residency Program. The Center provides the highest quality of comprehensive and continuous care to patients and their families throughout the life cycle, with the goal of reducing health disparities for the underserved communities of Pawtucket and Central Falls. Although the center has over three decades of experience as a leading primary care provider for well over 10,000 community residents, clinicians continue to improve the practice of medicine. Over the past 10 years, the Family Care Center has been moving to achieve a transformation in the care it provides – becoming a highly functioning patient-centered medical home.

This video was produced by PCP with the cooperation of Dr. Jeff Borkan, Dr. David Ashley and team at Memorial Hospital's Family Care Center.  
Videographer: Jenette Restivo (Primary Care Progress)
Producer/Editor: Jenette Restivo

Walking in the Patient's Footsteps: Revere Family Health, Massachusetts

"Walking in the Patient's Footsteps" is an innovative program practiced at the Revere Family Health Center in Revere, Mass. The program shadows patients throughout their health care experience at the clinic. Students play a major role in the program.  
Nikita Srinivasan was a Patient-Centered-Medical Home Development Intern at Cambridge Health Alliance. Nikita decided to intern at CHA to get more exposure to primary care.
Dr. Soma Stout is an internist and pediatrician, as well as medical staff president at Cambridge Health Alliance and co-medical director at Revere Family Health. One of her roles at CHA is to mentor students in innovation. “Students can be invaluable observers and listeners to the patient’s voice in a way people farther along in their careers can’t hear," she says. "Some of our best innovations in our medical home transformation really came from students 'walking in the footsteps of patients' - and in making those observations caught key things that we didn’t know because we just hadn’t heard it." Watch Dr. Stout speaking about the primary health care crisis on CNN, speaking about innovation and read her blog post on patient-centered care. 

Revere Family Health Center is a patient-centered medical home site that is part of the Cambridge Health Alliance, an award-winning health care system serving the communities north of Boston, Mass.  

This video is a collaboration between Revere Family Health Center, Dr. Matt Press (Weill Cornell Medical Center), Eric Lu (Harvard Medical School) and PCP.  
Videographer: Eric Lu
Editor: Jenette Restivo (Primary Care Progress)

The Check In Tracker: Southeast Health Center, California


During his year working with Southeast Health Center, David Margolius changed patient management at the clinic by using a shared Google Doc to make it easy for staff and providers to communicate in real time, without walkie-talkies, pagers and interruptions. 
David Margolius was a resident at UCSF, pursuing a career in internal medicine primary care. Between his third and fourth years of medical school at Brown University, David spent a year working with community health center staff and physicians in San Francisco to improve their delivery of primary care. David worked with PCP as an Innovation Collaboratives Team Advisor. Read his blog post "Using Google Docs To Facilitate Patient Flow In A Community Health Center" here.

Mark Ghaly is the Deputy Director for Community Health for the L.A. County Department of Health Services. His role focuses on how community resources and community efforts can help build a stronger and richer health services delivery system in the safety net. Prior to this position, Dr. Ghaly was the medical director at a San Francisco Dept of Public Health Clinic called Southeast Health Center in the Bayview Hunters Point community. He currently sees patients at the Juvenile Halls and Camps throughout the Los Angeles County. Dr. Ghaly attended Brown University and received his MD and his MPH in health policy from Harvard University. He completed his residency in pediatrics at UCSF. 

Southeast Health Center is a community-oriented primary care clinic in San Francisco. Through Healthy San Francisco, a program created by the city, Southeast and other clinics make health care services accessible and affordable for uninsured residents. The program offers a new way for San Francisco residents who do not have health insurance, to have basic and ongoing medical care.

This interview was filmed by Primary Care Progress.
Editor: Brian Blank (Primary Care Progress)

Making Room for Education: Baylor Family Medicine, Texas

"Making Room for Medical Education" is a project that Baylor College of Medicine medical student, Traci Fraser, took on with the staff of Baylor Family Medicine in Houston. The goal of the project was to find the resources to add a Medal Educator to the clinic staff.

Traci Fraser was a PCP chapter member and a fourth year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine. A lecture on patient-centered medical homes as a part of her family medicine rotation piqued her interest in the topic and led to a collaboration on an innovation project at Baylor Family Medicine.

Baylor Family Medicine is the private practice of faculty physicians from the department of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Baylor Family Medicine has been recognized for its efforts to improve quality and efficiency of care by the National Committee for Quality Assurance's Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Home program.

This interview was filmed and edited by Primary Care Progress.
Videographer: Jenette Restivo (Primary Care Progress)
Editor: Jenette Restivo