California Health News related to the Palo Alto Medical FoundationNavigation
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.
The linkAges™ program of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) Innovation Center has received a grant of $714,000 over three years from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help fund development of systems that support seniors aging in the community. The grant will support development and evaluation of linkAges Connect, part of the broader linkAges platform that fosters multi-generational community support for seniors living independently in their homes.
To complement traditional health care’s role in delivering high quality medical care, PAMF’s Innovation Center is focusing on non-medical aspects of health.
According to research conducted by Dr. Carla Perissinotto at University of California-San Francisco, seniors who are lonely have a 45 percent increased mortality over six years.
Innovative Program Supports Successful Aging
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Successful Aging Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) Program has received a national award from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). It was one of only 30 projects in the western United States chosen for the inaugural “Pipeline to Proposal” awards program, designed to “advance the field of patient- and stakeholder-driven health research,” said Anne Beal, M.D., MPH, PCORI’s deputy executive director and chief officer for engagement.
PAMF’s Successful Aging SMA program is the first of its kind in the nation. In this innovative program, adults ages 65 and older have 90-minute medical appointments in small groups, where they receive private, individual health assessments and participate in health discussions led by a doctor.
PAMF Regional Medical Director Susan Smith, M.D., believes there are distinct benefits to older patients who participate in this unique care model. “They get ample and dedicated time with a geriatrician, a physician who specializes in aging, and they do so in the company of fellow seniors, forming a natural support group,” she says. “The SMA empowers patients to make personalized decisions with their health care team.”
Through the Successful Aging Shared Medical Appointment program, “Our patients receive personalized evaluations, learn from one another, and work with us to develop preventive and proactive approaches to aging,” said SMA Nurse Care Manager Kelly Reilly, RN.
“This award provides us an exciting opportunity to further refine our program and define its future,” said Peter H. Cheng, M.D., chief of PAMF’s Palo Alto Center Geriatric Medicine Program and founder of the program. “Patients passionate about successful aging will partner with us to develop outcome goals that are meaningful to them, their families, their physicians, as well as the health care system.
Since the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) restarted its walk-in flu vaccine clinics for patients at selected PAMF locations, on January 14, 2014, PAMF medical staff has administered more than 10,000 vaccines. This is in addition to the 104,400 vaccines that had already been administered to PAMF patients at walk-in flu clinics between September and December 2013. (These figures do not include the vaccines given during patients’ regular doctor’s appointments.)
The community’s increased demand for the vaccine in recent weeks is likely caused by news reports of deaths in the Bay Area due to the H1N1 flu virus, commonly known as the swine flu.
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.
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.”
Read More about Improving Health Care in India