By Yan Kennon

Public Affairs Senior Writer,
Naval Hospital Jacksonville

Navy medicine is focused on finding innovative ways to protect, support and advance the health and welfare of the military family. One of Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville's innovative strategies is value-based care. The hospital launched a pilot program for Navy medicine worldwide, Oct. 1, 2016, and has since expanded value-based care to its branch health clinics in Jacksonville, Kings Bay and Mayport.

Value-based care focuses on the results that matter most to patients: feeling healthy, being able to do daily activities and fulfilling life roles like work and family.

The goal is doing what's right for patients in ways convenient and acceptable to them, with improved patient outcomes, increased readiness, higher patient satisfaction and improved value with optimal resource utilization.

The value approach organizes care around patients with similar needs and medical conditions. NH Jacksonville developed multidisciplinary teams - called Integrated Practice Units (IPUs) - for diabetes, low back pain, osteoarthritis and complicated pregnancy.   

Patients can ask their primary care manager (PCM) about enrolling in one of the IPUs.

"This is about providing real-world value to patients," said Capt. David Collins, NH Jacksonville commanding officer.  "And the early results are promising."

In the first six months, 251 patients enrolled in the IPUs, with about 1,130 appointments.  In addition to improving patients' quality of life, the IPUs are also seeing other improvements. The diabetes IPUs have improved patients' A1c scores, reflecting better long-term control of blood sugar. The low back pain IPU is seeing patients earlier in the physical therapy clinic, and completing treatment more quickly. The osteoarthritis IPU has improved the imaging studies patients receive.

Each IPU consists of a dedicated team of providers who are focused on that condition.  The team is responsible for the full cycle of care - outpatient, inpatient and support services - for that condition.

The team uses evidence-based strategies to enable patients to reach their health goals.

Team members vary by IPU, and include a primary provider and multiple specialties (such as pharmacy, behavioral health, nutrition, wellness, pain management, neurology, orthopedics, physical therapy and radiology).

A care navigator is also part of each IPU, to help patients along the way.

IPU patients generally experience personalized care plans that include their personal goals, individual and group appointments with the team, fewer appointments in general (to save patients' time) and enhanced communications.

While each IPU provides the care for its condition of focus, patients enrolled in IPUs also remain part of their Medical Home Port team.

This includes continued access to the appointment lines, 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (800-874-2273), TRICARE Online Patient Portal Secure Messaging (www.TRICAREonline.com or https://mil.RelayHealth.com), pharmacy home delivery (www.tricare.mil/homedelivery) and patient/customer relations to help improve the care experience.  

Currently, the hospital offers diabetes, low back pain and complicated pregnancy IPUs; Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) Mayport offers diabetes and osteoarthritis IPUs; and NBHC Kings Bay offers a low back pain IPU.

The hospital partners with NBHC Jacksonville on the low back pain IPU.

To find out more, patients can speak with their PCM, or call the diabetes IPU (hospital and NBHC Mayport) at 904-542-7636, or call the osteoarthritis IPU (NBHC Mayport) at 904-270-4371.