Getting to the Heart of Teamwork

Team-based care remains essential for patient care and for health center survival in these complex times. We face a shortage of primary care providers and our patients face continued medical and social challenges. Clinics are meeting this challenge in a variety of ways, including staff training in team-based care. The MA-Provider relationship, and the qualities and content of the communication between this dyad, are essential for patient-focused, efficient, equitable delivery of care and services. In many ways, MA-Provider communication is the heart of the team, hence the title of the program, Getting to the Heart.

Getting to the Heart was developed in 2013 in collaboration with Melanie Tervalon, MD, MPH, in her role as a consultant to LifeLong Medical Care around issues of cultural humility. As part of Dr. Laura Miller’s California Health Care Foundation Health Care Leadership California Health Improvement Project, she piloted this program within LifeLong Medical Care at the East Oakland Clinic, Howard Daniel Clinic and West Berkeley Family Practice. She found Getting to the Heart to be financially viable and improved patient and staff satisfaction. Now, in 2017, the Alameda Health Consortium has secured funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation to spread this work across our network of health centers to 40 dyads.

Getting to the Heart has already kicked off with Tri-City Health Center and will soon be launching at Asian Health Services and Axis Community Health.