Focus on the Future of Healthcare

In health care, there's more than meets the eye. A routine blood pressure screening is actually part of an initiative to improve the population's health. A clinic is really a center of care where patients' entire health needs are coordinated. New technology is not about computers, but about making patients' care safer. At Backus, the hospital is really part of a growing health system, prepared to meet health care's challenges, and the changing needs of Eastern Connecticut.

It's all about seeing the big picture.

. . . it's really population health management

It might sound odd, but the health system's goal is to keep people out of the hospital. One way to do this is through community education, screenings and the use of data to find "hot spots" in the community where the health needs are greatest. In the month of October alone, more than 350 individuals participated in Backus health screenings and community education events. Working in conjunction with community partners who helped staff the Backus Mobile Health Resource Center, we offered bone density and blood pressure screenings, primary care services, smoking cessation courses and nutritional counseling throughout communities of Eastern Connecticut.

At the Electric Boat Employee Health Day in New London, for example, Backus technologists tested the bone density of 62 people - 19 were positive for osteopenia, the start of osteoporosis, including four young people aged 25 to 31.

Managing population health allows caregivers to identify and prevent health issues before they require a visit to the emergency room or hospitalization, which are costly and sometimes ineffective alternatives. And to ensure that these initiatives aren't one-hit wonders, Backus focuses on connecting patients with medical homes, insurance programs, and appropriate medical providers for follow-up through our My Health Direct and Access to Care programs. Backus' outreach efforts are providing healthcare, out there, in the community, where we live.

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. . . it's really 24-7 access to healthcare for the community

Life's emergencies rarely happen during "office hours" and can't wait until the morning. Expertly trained staff at the Backus emergency departments in Norwich and Plainfield know that chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, broken bones, or severe cuts and bruises don't schedule appointments. Our emergency services teams are there and ready to care for you regardless of the time of day.

The Plainfield Emergency Care Center, which opened in July, is improving access to life-saving medical care for thousands of local residents, and also offering lab and diagnostic imaging services. The center is on a pace to exceed 17,000 visits in its first year, which is well beyond initial projections. Prior to the opening of the emergency center, community members of northern New London and southern Windham counties had to travel 15 minutes or more for emergency care. Backus Health System's latest addition is strengthening the continuum of care and improving the quality of life for patients throughout Eastern Connecticut.

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. . . it's really improved patient care

Backus continues to be recognized nationally for adoption of information technology, with the latest milestone being among the best for implementing an electronic medical record (EMR).

Backus is one of only 406 hospitals nationwide being tracked to reach Stage 6 of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics EMR adoption model. This milestone comes months after Backus was named a Most Wired hospital for the second year in a row. The Most Wired designation by the American Hospital Association is only given to the most technologically advanced hospitals in the U.S. and recognizes those facilities that effectively implement technology to improve patient safety, clinical quality and customer service.

Recognition and awards are nice, but making technology a partner in care is the real milestone. Every day, technology is helping to streamline and enhance the healthcare delivery system of the future in eastern Connecticut - in doctor's offices, the hospital, health centers and beyond.

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. . . it's really a patient-centered medical home

On Oct. 23, the Colchester and Montville Backus Health Centers became the first physician groups in Connecticut to receive the National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition using the latest standards including streamlined electronic medical record processes, electronic prescribing and establishment of an electronic patient portal. The care team has implemented systems to improve access to care, track referrals, follow-up on and report performance measures.

In a patient-centered medical home (PCMH), care is coordinated by a primary care provider and his or her care team. The care team gives the patient and family access to evidence-based care and self-management support with the goal of improving communication and overall health. This ensures that informed decisions can be made about a patient's healthcare, including arranging care with other physicians, nurses, therapists and specialists and connects the patient to other community resources.

This care model is the future of healthcare in the U.S. - and is unfolding rapidly at Backus.

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. . . it's really a health care system

When people think of a hospital, they may envision the walls that house patient floors or even the iconic blue "H" sign. However, Backus is much more than a hospital, we're a health system includingten locations throughout eastern Connecticut.

Streamlined processes allow all of the providers in the system to communicate instantaneously withone another, from the Plainfield Emergency Care Center to the main campus in Norwich, or from the lab in Jewett City to the Health Center in Montville or Colchester.

On the horizon, an affiliation with Hartford HealthCare will expand and strengthen access to healthcarein the region through enhanced preventive medicine, specialty services and medical staff development.

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