Summit Sponsor Feature: OptumCare

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This weekend is Primary Care Progress’ 6th Annual Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit! Today on the blog, we’re featuring one of our major sponsors, OptumCare, and their contributions to our primary care community. And don’t miss our previous sponsor Q&As from the University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine’s and the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care.

PCP: What makes OptumCare unique among other healthcare companies?

OptumCare: At OptumCare, we are transforming the delivery system by renewing our focus on one of the most important ingredients in healthcare today – primary care. By keeping primary care as the central foundation and strengthening it with the resources and infrastructure it needs, we are building a new kind of national delivery system that is ambulatory, community-based, and physician-led. Our goals are simple – improve quality, lower cost, and create a work environment that allows physicians to spend their time where they’re needed most – caring for patients – which leads to greater physician satisfaction and a better balanced professional life.

Additionally, being a part of Optum provides our physicians with access to advanced analytics, technologies, and clinical resources to enable physicians to better care for their patients.

PCP: What new initiative(s) at your school/company are you most excited about and how will it affect the primary care community?

OptumCare: Over the last several years we have brought together several key healthcare assets, including medical groups, independent practice associations, house call programs, urgent care, behavioral health, and ambulatory surgery centers to create a new kind of delivery system. Our work now centers on creating greater alignment between all of these entities so that we can deliver whole-person care to each person and comprehensive population health to the communities we serve.

Primary care is the common thread that ties all of this together. We have developed team-based primary care models that are enabled by advanced technology to the meet the needs of modern healthcare delivery and engage a new generation of primary care leadership.

PCP: As the future of our nation’s healthcare system remains unclear, what is your vision for how providers can use leadership to ensure a healthier future?

OptumCare: The physician voice is essential to developing care delivery models that work for them and patients. At OptumCare, physicians and clinicians are involved in critical business decisions, as they are the ones on the ground delivering care.

We are especially looking for physicians and clinical providers who share our vision of a new kind of healthcare system and who are willing to roll up their sleeves and join us in creating this change locally and at scale across the nation. In addition, we have leadership development programs that give physicians the opportunity to expand their clinical and business skills.

PCP: What are the most promising innovations you anticipate will transform primary care in the coming years?

OptumCare: Traditional primary care has to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of our communities and tackle the current challenges of our healthcare system.

One important area is the better incorporation of behavioral health into the workflow of primary care. Primary care has always treated behavioral health problems, but we need greater support and collaboration with our behavioral health colleague to improve our performance. New models of primary care and behavioral health collaboration are being explored in OptumCare that leverage advanced technology and partnership agreements to foster true integration.

Another challenge primary faces involves the meshing of proactive population health models with the traditional one-on-one relationships that are the foundation of primary care. Using analytic tools, methodologies for risk stratification, and new ways to reach and interact with patients, OptumCare is creating a forward-facing primary care model that meets people where they are and brings healthcare to them. Organizations that effectively bring these two models together will be leaders in achieving patient satisfaction and high-quality outcomes.

PCP: With burnout an ever-increasing factor in healthcare professionals’ lives, what are your thoughts about strategies for reversing the trend?

OptumCare: Physician burnout is a real threat to our healthcare system. At OptumCare, we combat it in a number of ways. Foremost, we firmly believe practicing team-based medicine is critical in every clinic. This means using all clinicians to the top of their license, and distributing administrative and clinical work in a way that allows our providers a balanced lifestyle.

We also offer flexible work options that satisfy both our patients’ and providers’ schedule. In addition, we are developing programs to provide physicians with resources to support their financial and personal wellbeing.

Most importantly we believe physician leadership and participation in the ongoing redesign of the workplace helps to combat the symptoms of burnout. By clearing away repetitive and rote work through the application of lean principles and advanced technology, we are trying to create more time for personal interaction with patients and the creative use of our medical expertise. The resulting renewed sense of meaning and purpose in our daily work is probably the most powerful antidote to physician burnout.

PCP: Thank you again for your generous support of PCP’s Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit. Why did you choose PCP for your limited donation dollars?

At OptumCare we are dedicated to promoting and championing the profession of primary care as we believe primary care physicians are the backbone to our health system.

Primary Care Progress

Founded in 2010, Primary Care Progress is a national organization committed to building stronger primary care teams. Working with current and future healthcare professionals from across disciplines and career stages – from students and faculty to providers and health systems leaders – we offer leadership development and support that emphasizes relational skills, individual resiliency, and advocacy. By providing the resources and community necessary to excel, we’re strengthening the teams at the heart of primary care, ultimately leading to sustainable models of care and better health for all.

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