“The vast majority of health improvement does not occur in office visits or hospitalizations,” Patrick Conway, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, said from the stage at the NCIOM Annual Meeting on September 7.
The comment encapsulated the key message of the day: true team-based health care includes more members, processes, and resources than many realize.
The day-long conference, held in Raleigh’s McKimmon Conference Center, examined what team-based care looks like in practice, as well as the challenges and opportunities it presents. Panels and presentations ranged from the conceptual to the specific, and audiences asked engaging questions that kept the conversation going throughout the day.
Meg Zomorodi, assistant provost for Interprofessional Education and Practice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, kicked off the conference with a talk on the importance of teams in health care and how to start conversations about improving team-based collaboration.
“Have a conversation outside your discipline about what team-based care means,” she said. “We need to learn about and from each other—communication is key.”
Prabhjot Singh, director of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health in New York, provided the keynote speech, sharing his experiences with community health worker programs around the world. The community is the central institute of a health system, he said. “Community health workers cost about 1-2% of total health care cost, and have demonstrated value in many settings.” As examples, Singh pointed to two organizations: IMPaCT in Pennsylvania and City Health Works in New York.
NCIOM President and CEO Adam Zolotor presented Gina Upchurch, founder and executive director of Senior PharmAssist, with the NCIOM Award for Excellence in Health Policy Leadership. She was nominated through an open nominations process and selected for her public health achievements, including helping older adults with limited incomes to obtain and pay for medications and working to expand access to health care for uninsured residents and seniors across the state.
Representatives of the new NCCARE360 joint venture to develop a state resource platform, as well as users of the Unite Us platform, participated in a panel discussion on how this new resource will facilitate team-based care in North Carolina.
Other panel topics included medical-legal partnerships, integrated team-based care in primary practice, team-based care in the treatment of substance use disorders, and more.
Conway spoke near the end of the day, describing some of BCBS NC’s team-based care efforts and encouraging attendees to keep working toward collaboration.
“We can partner for a better health system with lower cost, higher quality, and better experience,” he said.
Erin Fraher, director of the Carolina Health Workforce Research Center, closed out the conference with a recap of what was discussed – and what wasn’t. She reminded attendees that there is still much work to be done for North Carolinians to have access to true team-based care.
For more information on the 2018 Annual Meeting, click here.