To carry on from last month (click here for part 1), it was now 1997 we were six midwives and myself, and as usual I needed more help! I had known Marybeth Cutting, MD for years as we competed for patients delivering at Alexandria Hospital. She was very bright, articulate and extremely hard working. We had become friends, and eventually she my patient, as I did her own prenatal care and delivery.
Late one night, while each waiting for a baby to come, a light bulb went on and we resolved to open a combined practice with the name The Physician and Midwife Collaborative Practice. That was twenty-two years ago. I decamped from my Duke street office of eighteen years into her space. We still occupy that office on 4660 Kenmore Ave, much expanded, today.
There we were, Dr. Cutting, myself, and our first six midwives. At this point, we could still touch every patient. But to service the needs of the baby boomers’ baby boom, we needed more space, more doctors, more midwives, and more staff. So we pressed on. Today we are located in five offices and stand at ten physicians, ten midwives and five nurse practitioners as well as 50 support staff.
As we acquired more clinical space, a larger medical and support staff, it became apparent that we needed what in the end we call our systems, processes and pathways to keep the intimacy that we considered the core of our collaborative practice.
Women’s care is personal, intimate and important. Delivering our goal of Convenient Compassionate Care demands organization and communication at all levels.
In 2004, we brought on an operations expert and founded our Central Services Unit with the aim of serving and empowering our caregivers. We wanted to wick away the “business burdens” of a large modern medical practice and help our staff focus on Convenient Compassionate Care.
We computerized our medical records and then five years later we converted our patient records again to a cloud-based system that allowed us to open our Patient Portal that provided better access to information and improved communication.
You might notice the next time that you are in one of our offices that our front desk staff do not take incoming phone calls. This allows them to focus on you as you arrive and then conclude your office visit. This was another simple way to show our patients the care and attention they deserve and should expect of their caregivers.
We also made additional operational improvements to provide greater access to providers and information, all of the while continuing our obsession with Convenient, Compassionate Care.
- We centralized our appointment operators in one location and standardized all of the office hours and appointment slots, which provided more access for patients to make appoints when they thought they needed not when we had time.
- We implemented the ZocDoc online service to allow our patients to make their own appointments by going on line 24/7/365 to provide even more access at the touch of a finger.
- We established a central phone help center for questions about routine medical or business issues that could not be answered through the Portal to increase the lines of communication between patient and staff.
- We developed and deployed our Pregnancy Passport, printed notebook, and then our app to replace the print version–available on both iPhone and Android phones.
- We assigned a doctor and a midwife to the delivery suit at INOVA Alexandria Hospital to ensure 24/7/365 care.
In June of 2018, we took the next step on our Journey by merging our practice into the Advantia Health System. We have become part of a network for Women’s Care physicians, midwives and nurse practitioners that in this region spreads from Frederick Maryland to Frederiksberg Virginia.
If you followed so far you can see a theme developing here; an intense obsession with delivering Convenient Compassionate Care and recognition that in order to achieve those goals, these systems, processes and pathways are crucial.
As 2019 closes, Physicians and Midwives will have conducted more than 65,000 out patient visits and delivered 1,500 babies this year. Almost 7,500 of those visits will have been by new patients.
I feel fortunate to have lived this life in service to our community, and I am pleased to place this legacy under the Advantia Health banner. I am also confident that our core belief in Convenient Companionate Care will continue to live on through our incredible network of doctors, midwives and nurse practitioners.
Our story continues and will certainly expand under Advantia Health into the medical care and the lives of the Echo Boomers and beyond.
Thank you all for your trust and loyalty over the years. I have enjoyed meeting you all over the years and will keep our shared memories and your friendships with me always. If you see me at Safeway or Wegman’s please say hello.