Outside-the-Box Medical Practices


The American Medical Association and the Medical Group Management Association honored five medical practices for using outside-the-box thinking to help physicians thrive in a changing healthcare environment.  Here is what this article states they were looking for:

  •  high-value strategies with low barriers to adoption.
  •  being stronger, more aligned and competitive in an ever-changing health care landscape

“The top entries from the Practice Innovation Challenge will be valuable additions to Steps Forward that will help the AMA and MGMA spread new practice transformation tactics to practices across the country,” said Steven J. Stack, MD, the AMA’s president.  

Who wouldn’t want that?  And what else will they get?

The winning practices will each receive $10,000 and the chance to help create new modules for AMA’s STEPS Forward platform, a web-based educational platform that offers 26 online modules to help physicians cope with issues ranging from telemedicine to revenue cycle management to burnout. The AMA said 10 of the modules were just added this month.

Wow, this getting more exciting by the minute.

So who were the winners?

  • Asante Physician Partners, Medford, OR Patient-centered New Patient Process: A streamlined patient registration process that provides complete and accurate information on new patients while substantially cutting administrative costs.
  • Center for Excellence in Primary Care at the University of California, San Francisco Health Coaching: A proactive model for engaging with patients in collaborative health action plans that saves physicians time while enhancing patient outcomes and satisfaction.
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA The Letter Project: A catalyst for overcoming language barriers with patients and providing accessible written information in numerous languages that can facilitate end-of-life planning discussions with a physician.
  • University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN Building a Medical Home-based Care Transition Team: A team approach to preventable drug therapy problems that decreased hospital readmissions in targeted patients.
  • Vanguard Medical Group, Montclair, NJ Medical Assistant In-service Education: An interactive education curriculum that improves the performance of medical assistants as an important member of the team-based care model.

So there you have it.  A lot of fluff.  A lot less than meets the eye.  And no Direct Primary Care practices!  Remember, the award was going to help physicians thrive (yes, thrive) in a changing healthcare environment?  Would you expect anything more from the AMA or MGMA?  Let’s hope these practices don’t spend that $10K in one place.  LMAO.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Outside-the-Box Medical Practices

  1. robert erickson
    October 14, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I Think Vanguard is a Primary Care Practice

    • October 14, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      We are a five site group in Northern New Jersey, none of which are in Montclair. We came together a few years ago to try and compensate for the horrible insurance system in New Jersey. This program was initially rolled out with our practice in Verona. It’s not going to make us “thrive”, but maybe help keep our head up until our DPC program can get on its feet.

      • Doug Farrago
        October 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm

        Trust me, Frank, DPC is the only chance we have. The AMA and MGMA should take their modules on how to help physicians cope and shove up their collective rectums. They created this mess and now they are pretending to try and fix it.

  2. Bill Ameen MD
    October 14, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Wow, Dr. Doug! I hope they also awarded these “practices” multiple pairs of wading boots!!

  3. Steve O'
    October 14, 2015 at 7:13 am

    As in many other sectors of society, the key to being noticed is pre-existing Visibility to Those Who Matter. Next, receive the Consensus of Known Innovators. And Buy-In from Affiliated Stakeholders, those who represent patients and other members of the Health Care Team.
    These are the people who paint blue sky and clouds, stars and galaxies on the inside of the shoebox that they live in, and marvel at their own ability to think outside the box.
    Stanford! UCSF! Innovation-through-conformity! I wonder if any of the deep thinkers actually got out of their plush chairs and went to Flyover Country to look for actual new practice transformation tactics. (Consider that primary care providers can’t even afford to live in Palo Alto or San Francisco without a wealthy family or some sweet sweet consulting jobs on the side.)
    …the chance to help create new modules for AMA’s STEPS Forward platform, a web-based educational platform that offers 26 online modules to help physicians cope with issues… It’s the same bunch that made primary care unsustainable and livable, back to give you some handy tips to keep you off the raw edge of despair with an online module!
    It’s the same bunch that takes a New Age week or two visiting the Indian Reservations, politely correcting any Indians who don’t call themselves “Native Americans” or “Indigenous People,” listen to memorized tour-guide gibberish and buy some dreamcatchers from China, and hop on the plane back home full of self-actualization and reaffirming their connection with all of humanity. And lock the doors on their BMW on the way back from the airport.
    A little condescension, a little feigned interest, and a crumb or two here and there. The self-adulation, the exchanging of prizes for worldliness and brilliance among the Elect – there’s nothing new to it. What’s an MGMA, anyhow? Ten years, we’ll be asking the same thing about the AMA, I suppose. They’re a group of well-educated people who are there to direct us to the most efficient and productive ways of improving ourselves. What’s in a name, anyhow?

    • Frank J. Rubino MD
      October 17, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Wow, Well said.
      Out of the entire United States of America these are the only 5 practices that are capable of “thinking out side the box”.

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