Partnership in Practice: The Coronado Medical Group

Partnership in Practice: The Coronado Medical Group
Applying Patient-Centered Concepts in the Physician Practice Setting

“By being more personal, we can take better care of populations, and by analyzing our patient population, we identify which individuals we need to engage,” so explains Dr. Kenneth Warm of Coronado Medical Group in California, a four-physician primary care practice serving the Greater San Diego area, which in May 2015 was awarded Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition – the highest level of achievement – by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

What it means to be a patient-centered medical home

What-is-a-Patient-Centered-The Coronado Medical Group team has dedicated itself to establishing a patient-centered medical home that delivers a personalized care experience fueled by strong partnerships between patients and providers, among all members of the care team, and between the office and other community partners, including Planetree Designated Hospital Sharp Coronado Hospital. Indeed, this alignment of a patient-centered approach between the hospital and practice ensures that partnerships established in one setting extend across the patient’s healthcare experience. Continue reading “Partnership in Practice: The Coronado Medical Group”

National University Partners With Planetree, a Global Leader in Patient-Centered Healthcare, to Prepare a New Generation of Health Professionals

National University Partners With Planetree, a Global Leader in Patient-Centered Healthcare, to Prepare a New Generation of Health Professionals
Partnership is first of its kind with an educational institution to infuse curriculum with patient-centered health care principles; Planetree’s approaches are considered the gold standard among organizations worldwide

Planetree, Inc., a mission-based not-for-profit organization that partners with healthcare organizations around the world, and National University, the second-largest private nonprofit university in California, announce the first collaboration of its kind to train a new generation of health professionals in exceptional patient-centered care.

This is Planetree’s first partnership with an academic institution, and it offers a unique opportunity to jointly prepare students in patient-centered care. Patient-centered care emphasizes the active participation of patients and their families in the health care decision process. Planetree, a leader in patient-centered care through an alliance with 700 healthcare organizations and 19 countries, helps organizations develop a cohesive strategy of health care services through patient emotional, psychological, social and physical healing.

Starting this month through the partnership, National University’s School of Health and Human Services will initiate a school-wide process to evaluate areas for integration and alignment with patient-centered care principles.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Planetree to prepare a new generation of health care leaders dedicated to the highest standards of patient centered care,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University and Chancellor of the National University System.  “At National University, we put a top priority on the exceptional student experience through initiatives like this one that address a clear need in the professional marketplace and that allow our graduates to contribute in ways that will have an immediate positive impact on our health care system.” Continue reading “National University Partners With Planetree, a Global Leader in Patient-Centered Healthcare, to Prepare a New Generation of Health Professionals”

Let’s Just Get ‘Er Done: What Do We Need in a Planetree Coordinator?

Let’s Just Get ‘Er Done: What Do We Need in a Planetree Coordinator?
By Margaret Rogan, RD, Planetree Coordinator, VAMC Northport, NY

M Rogan HeadshotYears ago, when I attended my first supervisory training, a brainstorming exercise encouraged participants to identify key traits that managers need to be successful. When the group reached 38 traits, I realized that I only had about 15, most of them inherent!  This could be trouble.  Over the years, I learned that honing inherent skills along with learning how to keep moving forward, are central to success.

When a facility starts to embark on the patient centered care (PCC) journey, it is crucial for senior leadership to select a Planetree Coordinator who is up to the task.  This staff position is key to the mission of true cultural and organizational transformation, and it is worth taking a hard look at what unique skill sets are necessary to “Get ‘Er Done.” Continue reading “Let’s Just Get ‘Er Done: What Do We Need in a Planetree Coordinator?”

Planetree Awarded Funding to Educate Patient and Family Partners about Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Planetree Awarded Funding to Educate Patient and Family Partners about Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
By Jill Harrison, PhD, Planetree Experience Advisor

PFE ImageToday, partnerships with patients and family are at the forefront of healthcare quality improvement efforts. Accrediting bodies are incorporating standards on how organizations partner with healthcare consumers. Legislation has been enacted, in some states, requiring hospitals to have patient and family advisory councils (PFACs) and established institutions, like the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), CMS, the American Hospital Association and others have embraced partnerships with patients as core to their improvement agendas. Healthcare organizations nationwide are using PFACs as a foundational structure to engage patients and family members as partners in quality and process improvement, strategic planning, hiring and evaluation, staff training and more to promote community building and align the organization’s strategic priorities with what matters most to patients. Despite this increasing engagement with PFACs, little is known about how these groups receive or make use of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) to inform their understanding, decision making, and recommendations to the healthcare organizations they advise.

After proposing a solution to this knowledge gap, Planetree was recently selected for an Engagement Award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to collect evidence about how PFACs engage with PCOR, including any facilitators and barriers to engagement. Using this baseline knowledge about engagement, Planetree will co-develop a publically available manual, developed by PFACs for PFACs, to educate PFACs about PCOR. The manual, which will be available on Planetree’s website ( will become available during October 2017 as part of Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month. Continue reading “Planetree Awarded Funding to Educate Patient and Family Partners about Patient-Centered Outcomes Research”

Planetree Announces Partnership with Empathetics, Inc. to Bring Empathy Training to Planetree Members

Planetree Announces Partnership with Empathetics, Inc. to Bring Empathy Training to Planetree Members


In October 2015, Planetree announced a new partnership with Empathetics, Inc. to bring empathy training to Planetree designated hospitals and members. Dr. Susan Frampton, President of Planetree, states, “This compelling information, delivered in a variety of modalities, meets the needs of clinicians and has powerful potential to transform care delivery and ensure that safe, high quality care is provided with caring and kindness. Planetree looks forward to partnering with Empathetics to successfully engage clinicians in empathy skills training with a scientific foundation.”

Interpersonal Communications Education to Improve Healthcare

Empathetics, founded by Dr. Helen Riess of Massachusetts General Hospital, offers scientifically based empathy eLearning proven to optimize interpersonal engagement. Using self-paced, CME/CE-accredited online education, participants learn the basic science of emotional connections with others. The education teaches how to detect and manage the emotional states of patients and how to respond with empathy and compassion, even in difficult interactions. Video vignettes enhance appreciation of the implicit emotional states in others. The education also teaches emotional self-management skills with specific techniques that can be easily incorporated into a medical professionals’ daily routine. Continue reading “Planetree Announces Partnership with Empathetics, Inc. to Bring Empathy Training to Planetree Members”

Suggested Ways to Celebrate Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month

Suggested Ways to Celebrate Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month

PCCAM logoPatient-Centered Care Awareness Month is an international awareness-building campaign to commemorate the progress that has been made toward making patient-centered care a reality and to build momentum for further progress.  This October will mark the ninth annual Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month, and healthcare organizations and patient groups around the world will be participating in the campaign.

With the theme “Healthcare’s Brave New World: Patient-Centered Care,”  this year’s Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month campaign promotes courageous engagement in healthcare.  Each organization is encouraged to personalize how you commemorate the month. Here are just a few ideas of ways you promote courageous engagement – at a personal level, an organizational level and within the larger community.

  1. Spotlight the work of your Patient and Family Partnership Council on your web site or on a prominent display board.  Thank them for their contributions and highlight just a couple of the ways the council has driven change within your organization.  If you don’t have a Patient and Family Partnership Council, start mapping out a plan to create one!
  2. Share what it means to you to be a #BravePatient. Invite members of your Patient and Family Partnership Council to do the same.  Capture their comments on video and post them on your Web site and social media channels.  Planetree posed this question to members of our Patient and Family Partnership Council and the responses were illuminating! #BravePatient article
  3. Host an open house for patients and families with the theme of courageous engagement.  Make available tools from the Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month Toolkit and provide information on specific ways patients can engage, for instance signing up for the patient portal, identifying a care partner and documenting their personal preferences for their healthcare.
  4. Display the Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month logo on your organization’s web site and social media channels to promote your participation in the month and your organization’s patient-centric programs.
  5. Write a letter to the editor of the local paper describing your organization’s commitment to patient-centered care.  Better yet, co-author the piece with a member of your patient and family partnership council. Planetree I Am An Expert
  6. Make a commitment to start meetings during the month of October by sharing a story of courageous engagement.
  7. Courageously engage in a conversation with your loved ones about end-of-life care preferences.
  8. Invite local and state elected officials to tour your organization.  Use the opportunity to showcase patient-centered care in action.
  9. Distribute “I am an expert about me” stickers to patients and “I am listening” stickers to staff to reinforce that courageous engagement is a two-way street. Planetree I Am Listening
  10. Host a meeting with local patient advocates to identify opportunities for collaboration. Continue reading “Suggested Ways to Celebrate Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month”

Bringing Compassion Into Care: “Sticking Up” for Patients and Practitioners

Bringing Compassion Into Care: “Sticking Up” for Patients and Practitioners
By Eric M. Stone, Co-Founder and CEO, Velano Vascular,,

As a chronic illness sufferer, I wholeheartedly agree with Planetree President Susan Frampton’s recent Planetalk commentary:

Indeed, despite all the technical advances of the recent past and the sophisticated care delivery and payment models that have been launched within our industry, for patients and their loved ones, the essence of what makes a healthcare experience a good one comes down to the quality of human interactions.

If you’ve ever spent a night in the hospital as a patient (if not, probability suggests that it is, unfortunately, bound to happen), you are aware that our practitioners strive to help, but by the very nature of their jobs sometimes hurt. Specifically, I’m referring to the all-too-common blood draw procedure, which is conducted an estimated 400 million times in U.S. hospital inpatient settings every year. The results of this procedure inform 70% of clinical decisions. Few will argue that “sticks”, or venipuncture, are an inevitable aspect of a hospital stay and probably even fewer would disagree with the statement that needle sticks are nearly universally disliked by patients. Merely polling friends and family leads me to the wholehearted conclusion that if you are animate, you most certainly do not like getting stuck. Meanwhile, an estimated 10% of Americans are trypanophobic [1], possessing a deep-seated fear of needles that can lead to delay or outright avoidance of essential care. Our current approach to phlebotomy is archaic, inhumane and generally taken for granted; blood draw technologies have not advanced much over the past few centuries. Blood_letting-Velano Vascular Image

Twenty-five years ago I was admitted to my local children’s hospital, a vulnerable and confused 14 year-old. Over the course of the next 12 days, I was stuck repeatedly day and night for “labs” – labs typically drawn between the wee hours of 4 and 6 a.m. These daily sleep disruptions may have delayed my healing, or at the very least seemed a necessary nuisance to my parents and me. I have distinct memories of fear – anxiousness about the needle, fear of the individuals (it usually took a “team” to complete each draw), and an overall sense of discomfort. I know that this experience is not only scary for kids, but is also unsettling for most adults. And I know I am not alone – these feelings are prevalent. Just scour the open text commentary in your HCAHPS, ask your patients, ask your nurses and phlebotomists. And with one in six  inpatients stuck 10 or more times during their hospital stay, and one in four  patients undergoing two or more lab draws per day, the fear, anticipation and discomfort usually mounts over time [2]. Continue reading “Bringing Compassion Into Care: “Sticking Up” for Patients and Practitioners”

A Resource You Can Use

A Resource You Can Use

The National Academy of Medicine’s Patient & Family Leadership Network recently put the finishing touches on a comprehensive resource compendium that summarizes available evidence and information about the impact of patient and family engagement on healthcare outcomes and care improvement.  The compendium is designed to help patient and family advisory councils across the country collaborate to improve patient and engagement and outcomes.  The compendium can be downloaded at no cost here.

Is Your Hospital CARE Act Ready?

Is Your Hospital CARE Act Ready?
By Sara Guastello, Director of Knowledge Management, Planetree

As of this writing, if you live in one of 14 U.S. states, the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act is, or will soon be, state law.  And if you don’t live in one of those states, chances are good that efforts are underway to move the bill through your state legislature in the near future.  Through a standard set of provisions directed at identifying, supporting and training family caregivers of hospitalized patients, the CARE Act aims to improve the quality of patient care, reduce readmissions, and lower overall healthcare costs.

Reprinted from, June 29, 2015. Copyright 2015 AARP. All rights reserved

Momentum is building for the enactment of the CARE Act nationwide, fueled by the changing nature of family caregiving, both in terms of prevalence (estimated at approximately 42 million family caregivers in the U.S.[1]) and complexity of caregiving responsibilities, with almost half of all family caregivers having performed medical or nursing tasks for their loved one[2].

Credit to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) for making support of family caregivers the centerpiece of its advocacy platform in 2015, significantly accelerating efforts to formally recognize the vital role that family can play as members of their loved one’s care team. Continue reading “Is Your Hospital CARE Act Ready?”

How One Hospital Partners Up to Create and Participate in Community and Its Health

How One Hospital Partners Up to Build Community and Promote Health
By Kathy Brown, Quality Coordinator, Director of Radiology; Tammra Todd, Clinic LPN; Jenn Lorengo, PT, DPT, OCS; Laurie Duncan, DLMC Planetree Coordinator, Deer Lodge Medical Center

Deer Lodge Medical Center is a 16-bed critical access hospital located along I90 in southwest Montana. Settled in the 1800s by ranchers, miners, and later loggers and railroaders, this vast land rich in natural resources has limited resources of humans and the supportive institutions that develop in a more populated area. Sometimes it is our limitations that yield our greatest strengths and our lack that produces our greatest abundance.  So it is here in the west that our neighbors become a very valuable asset. Whether in times of need or celebration, we come together to support and share. We partner up!

A History of Community Service

Our history is rooted in the awareness of need and the spirit of service far back to the late 1800s when the recently relocated Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth opened the second hospital in Montana and responded to the call of duty in connection to the Battle of the Big Hole in August of 1877.

The community assisted the Sisters in door to door fund-raising to erect a three story 65 bed hospital to meet the growing needs of railroad families brought to the valley with the establishment of the Milwaukee in 1920. That same building served our community until 1963 when Powell County Memorial Hospital was constructed, and today we are Deer Lodge Medical Center, housed in our new facility since September of 2011. Our new facility provides patients state-of-the art medical equipment and a beautiful, healing environment for care. Continue reading “How One Hospital Partners Up to Create and Participate in Community and Its Health”