February 11, 2019

Innovation Center unveiled for HHC-Albany Park

3 speakers stand at a podium in front of ppowerpoint presentation

The new Innovation Center at HHC-Albany Park was the subject of a half-day launch event on February 1. Speaking were, from left, Heartland Health Centers’ Medical Director for Quality and Innovation Jeff Panzer, MD; Pat Marshall, president of Synerchange, and Andrew Hamilton, AllianceChicago Chief Informatics Officer.

Team-based care has been a focus of Heartland Health Centers’ work with patients.  Now, a new Innovation Center at Albany Park, ICAP, seeks to demonstrate that aligning care team roles based on relationships with patients rather than transactions will provide better health outcomes, improved patient experience, and more joy at work for care team members.

On February 1, three ICAP leaders — HHC-Albany Park Site Manager Gloria Mejia, and doctors Jeff Panzer, and Ron Chacko — presented their vision for ICAP and a key feature of that vision, the new Care Team Coordinator position. The ICAP is located at the HHC-Albany Park community health clinic.

To describe the need for ICAP, Panzer made an analogy to constructing a home.  He said the nation’s current health care delivery transformation approach was like transitioning from a 2-story to 3-story house. While the three stories provide shelter and plenty of space, he said, the quick construction left a shaky foundation, leaving the whole structure vulnerable.  

He went on to say that creating a more robust “patient-centered medical home” requires an innovation team to rethink the house from foundation up.  He described a time when a patient’s endometrial cancer could have been caught sooner with a more innovative approach to care.

In the new approach Panzer outlined, CTCs will be present during a patient’s visit and afterward will serve as a main point of contact for questions, concerns and referrals.  The coordinators will allow providers to better engage with patients by helping with note-taking and paperwork during the visit, and can assist patients during and after a visit with referrals, coordination, or other help.

For example, speaker Allison Winkler, Senior Practice Transformation Advisor at the American Medical Association, spoke on advancing innovation to increase joy in medicine. She noted that burnout among providers can increase the risk of medical errors by 200 percent.

Staff and attendees also heard from Andrew Hamilton, Chief Informatics Office for Alliance Chicago, and Pat Marshall, President of SynerChange.  Hamilton talked about innovating health information technology to support practice transformation, while Marshall spoke to the audience about demonstrating resilience in the face of change.

The day ended with the Innovation Center staff participating in a series of team-building activities and strategic planning sessions to help prepare them for coming challenge.