Summit Sponsor Feature: Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care


This weekend is Primary Care Progress’ 6th Annual Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit! Today on the blog, we’re featuring one of our major sponsors, the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care, and their contributions to our primary care community. Stay tuned for another sponsor Q&A later this week or enjoy the University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine’s earlier post.

PCP: What makes the Center for Primary Care unique among other health professions institutions?

The Center: At the Center our mission is to transform primary care. Over the past five years we have joined students, primary care team members, and trainees from all the disciplines – including nursing, social work, and public health – to accomplish this common goal. We feature programs in four key areas: innovations in care, improving primary care education, transforming primary care systems, and original research focused on practice transformation. Through these efforts and the community we have built, we are driving toward a re-invention of primary care, higher quality of care at lower cost, and solidifying primary care’s role as guide through a complex healthcare system.

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

The Center: The Center has launched a first-of-its-kind executive education program targeted at primary care leaders. Through this intensive, case-based program, participants learn how to successfully prepare for changes in payment and navigate challenges with ease. Using the Center’s Case Series, participants learn from exemplary practices from around the world. The program pairs case-based discussion sessions led by Harvard faculty with opportunities to learn directly from exemplar primary care practices and leaders. We launched the program for the first time last year, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. More importantly, 95% of participants indicated they would be making changes in their practice based on the learnings from the program. In the coming years we will expand upon this growing portfolio, providing valuable trainings for today’s primary care teams and leaders.

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?

The Center: Healthcare delivery systems worldwide are in crisis. In wealthy countries, particularly the United States, healthcare costs too much, yet both care and health outcomes are often mediocre. We believe there is a better path forward. We envision high value health systems built on a foundation of strong primary care. Primary care and health system leadership need to understand and support systems improvement efforts. We need leaders that advocate for the kinds of changes that benefit both patients and practices. At the Center, we are offering leadership trainings and executive education offerings that prepare teams and leaders to address and manage change; lead, motivate, and align people around a common vision or direction; and identify where they can leverage the most impact within a system.

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

The Center: While we work to transform existing systems, we know that we also have to go further, and rethink the way we care for our patients. Through the Center’s programs in innovation and entrepreneurship, we have worked to collaborate with and train entrepreneurial individuals and teams creating solutions to the most pressing problems in primary care.

Last year, one of the Center’s student innovation teams impacted a local community. Drawing on the experience of underserved, underresourced countries that have long benefited from the development of community health worker programs, the student team used this well-tested intervention to break down 
the barriers to care in communities that have limited access. Community health workers have successfully addressed infant mortality and increased the number of children surviving the first year of life. Inspired by this successful model, the student team aims to foster a partnership between medical students and pregnant women at the local Dimock Community Health Center to address this priority topic area and patient access services.

An area that is particularly exciting, are the innovations that are occurring in electronic health records, making them accessible to patients and enabling them to support workflow in primary care practices. We are also eager to see the outcome of innovations in payment that will create incentives to provide value-based care, to the benefit of both patients and providers.

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

The Center: As mentioned, the Center has a new focus on burnout as part of our efforts with the PCIN. To support this work we have developed a driver diagram with a series of primary drivers and potential solutions. By identifying the factors with the greatest impact on burnout, and mapping these causes back to potential solutions, we hope to see measurable changes within the practices where we are working. So far, our efforts are focused on ways to adapt how practices are organized and the changes we can introduce to support resilience.

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?

We have long been supporters of the important work of PCP, and many of our own students and faculty have benefited from the Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit. But more importantly, we believe that PCP’s focus on Relational Leadership™ for students and emerging leaders in primary care is an important step in creating the advocates we need to transform primary care.

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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