Increased Access to Health Care for Busy Professionals
With stressful, around-the-clock careers, many professionals in Silicon Valley don’t make time to see a doctor. To help, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) created the Care-A-Van, which provides modern-day house calls to corporations.
Launched in the summer of 2013, PAMF’s mobile Care-A-Van travels to large employers in Silicon Valley and provides medical care to employees at their job sites, making it easier for busy professionals to receive good health care.
PAMF’s Care-A-Van medical team offers annual physicals, including Pap smears, care for basic health issues, lab services, counseling on test results (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body mass index) and vaccinations.
Since the mobile medical clinic hit the road, demand has steadily increased, and it now travels to work sites five days a week. Current employers using the Care-A-Van include Brocade, Cadence Design Systems, Marvell, NetApp, NVIDIA, Oracle (both their Redwood Shores and Santa Clara sites), Sandisk, Synopsys, Varian, VMWare and Yahoo. At many of these companies, employees can schedule online appointments for the mobile clinic.
The California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) recently issued its 2014 Quality of Care Report Card, and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) has been rated four out of four stars for patient experience. In this statewide assessment, more than 200 medical groups were scored in categories including how patients rated their care.
PAMF received top ratings for patient experience throughout its service areas of Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
This week Google announced its latest innovation: a smart contact lens developed to help people with diabetes monitor their glucose levels. Patients are more likely to comply with monitoring that does not require frequent pin (lancet) pricks for blood samples, and maintain better health as a result.
Google says that the lens, currently in prototype form, will use a wireless chip and a tiny glucose sensor planted between two layers of material designed for soft contact lenses to measure glucose levels in tears. The lens will use miniature lights to warn the diabetic person if their glucose readings reach a dangerous level. Google reports that they have “completed clinical research studies that explore tear/blood glucose correlation and test lens functionality and comfort.”
Dr. David Klonoff, medical director at the Diabetes Research Institute at Mills-Peninsula Health Services, worked with Google on a clinical study to evaluate that ability to detect glucose in tears. He was Principal Investigator and co-author of the protocol for the first study in the Google contact lens project. Mills-Peninsula Health Services and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation form the Peninsula Coastal Region of Sutter Health.
“We measured tear glucose levels with a unique sampling system and a special measuring method that were developed by Google for very small volumes and very low glucose concentrations. We compared tear glucose levels with blood glucose levels to see how closely these two measurements tracked,” Dr. Klonoff explains.
Test results are still being analyzed by Dr. Klonoff’s team but he reports that he is optimistic about the outcomes and eventual benefit to patients.
“It was exciting working with scientists from Google and to collaborate with such a dynamic creative company. They do not let any barriers stand in their way. I have been following the work of the Google scientists for many years and they are extremely creative,” Dr. Klonoff says.
Read the official Google blog, Introducing Our Smart Contact Lens Project by Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, project co-founders.
He founded the Dorothy L. and James E. Frank Diabetes Research Institute of Mills-Peninsula Health Services to facilitate development of new devices and drugs for people with diabetes. He has chaired the scientific advisory board for developing the first FDA-approved insulin patch pump and participated in development of the first FDA-approved dedicated diabetes telemedicine system, the first FDA-approved inhaled insulin, and the first three FDA-approved incretin drugs for diabetes. He recently published his findings in the New England Journal of Medicine as the lead investigator for the first-ever randomized controlled multicenter trial of the world’s first artificial pancreas product for outpatient use.
The 12-member delegation of physicians and executives from the two organizations spent a week meeting with physicians, government and business leaders. The intensive schedule included tours of hospitals and biopharmaceutical and technology companies, and members participated in large panel discussions in both Bangalore and Delhi.
“Despite our differences, what we found at every stop is that we both share a common purpose – to improve the health of our communities and deliver quality, affordable health care,” said Tomi Ryba, president and chief executive officer, El Camino Hospital. “In the coming months, we will be solidifying specific memoranda of understandings (MOUs) to continue our collaborations and grow our collective body of knowledge around health care delivery and medical practice in our respective communities.”
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Lawrence Shapiro, M.D., a pulmonologist and Managed Care Director for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, has worked with PAMF doctors to develop a highly successful approach to managed care that saves costs while putting patients first. Shapiro outlines the collaboration that saved $40 million in health care costs over the past four years in his new book, Quality Care, Affordable Care: How Physicians Can Reduce Variation and Lower Healthcare Costs, published by Greenbranch Publishing.
“The key to managing the cost of care is to make your doctors the experts, listen to them, and work with them to develop local standards that meet the needs of local patients,” Shapiro said. “It improves affordability and the value of the care that we provide to the patients.”
In his book, Shapiro outlines the five pillars that successfully reduced variation in care at PAMF, and that can help any medical group trying to manage costs while improving quality. The pillars include focusing on affordability, engaging physicians and a commitment to useful data. He also shares examples from his team’s work.
Sutter Health has donated $50,000 to food banks in the counties served by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), a Sutter Health affiliate. The Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County was given $16,500, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties received $33,500, for a total donation of $50,000 in the PAMF service area.
The checks were sent to the two food banks by Sutter Health Regional President Jeff Gerard and Palo Alto Medical Foundation CEO Richard Slavin, M.D. Read More about $50k Donated to Food Banks to Ease Local Hunger