Resident Physicians Earn Award For Excellence
Almost like clockwork, physicians, nurses and other clinical staff come together at the start of every shift at the Merrill Gappmayer Family Medicine Center. These huddles are an essential part of the clinic’s structure and are intended to help the 21 resident doctors focus on clinical care.
Seemingly small, but important, details like this have paid off with the clinic being a recipient the 2011 Excellence in Healthcare Award for Asthma Management from Select Health. This places the clinic in the top 10 percent of all clinics in Utah.
“It’s remarkable to receive this type of award,” says Michael Rhodes, MD, Director of the Family Medicine Residency. “It’s a great accomplishment for our resident physicians.”
Every year, all Utah clinics providing asthma care are evaluated and ranked according to health indicators that are directly related to the quality of care received by patients. Some of the indicators looked at include: the amount of hospital visits, emergency room visits and the amount of prescription refills for asthmatic emergency inhalers. Other indicators are an annual examination and Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) plus a prescription for a daily maintenance inhaler.
According to Dr. Rhodes, receiving this type of award has been a work in progress. One obstacle they’ve had to overcome is the fact that at least 50 percent of their patients are on government insurance or fall into the uninsured/underinsured categories. Asthma takes consistent management, which is often difficult for this unique patient population.
“People think they have to go to a private doctor to receive quality care,” Dr. Rhodes says. “That’s not the case here. We have resident physicians providing exceptional care and this award is a reflection of the care patients receive.”
Part of what helps promote exceptional patient care is the learning environment at the clinic. Under the supervision of Dr. Rhodes and six other full-time faculty members, residents work closely with patients, develop professional habits and learn from local professionals and experienced hospital staff.
“The reason these doctors excel with their patient care is because they’re still in learning mode and we closely track our outcomes, which makes us aware of areas that need improvement,” says Dr. Rhodes.