MSU HealthTeam puts patients first

MSU does more than educate health care providers who will serve the needs of Michigan’s growing, aging population.

The 260 teaching faculty of the Colleges of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing also provide direct patient care to thousands of MSU students and patients in the broader community each year, offering services at over 40 clinics on campus and throughout the region.

All told, the MSU HealthTeam provides more than 190,000 patient visits each year and performs nearly 25,000 routine and life-saving surgeries. In addition to allopathic and osteopathic physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants, the team also comprises allied health professionals including nurses, psychologists, social workers, therapists and nutritionists.

Key to the MSU HealthTeam’s mission is teaching and modeling the best national and professional practices through continuous review and quality improvement.

“We are always looking for ways to better serve our patients,” said Richard Ward, chief executive officer of the MSU HealthTeam.

In November, Ward began a review of HealthTeam policies that cover provision of volunteer medical services by clinic professionals, provision of services after hours or outside clinic property, the presence of chaperones during physical examinations or treatments, and protocols for conducting nonsurgical, invasive procedures.

That review led to two new policies, which took effect on April 15, governing patient privacy, chaperones and informed consent for examinations, treatments or procedures.

“MSU HealthTeam is committed to providing a safe place for patients to receive care,” Ward said. “To help create a safe place, we now require chaperones for sensitive examinations. In addition, a patient can also request a chaperone at any time.”

The MSU HealthTeam is continuing to look for additional ways to enhance patient comfort and safety across the HealthTeam’s operations, which range from the MSU Breslin Cancer Center to an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit with Sparrow Hospital. For example, Ward is spearheading MSU HealthTeam’s transition to an electronic health record system that will enhance patient safety and improve work flows.

Currently, MSU HealthTeam is interviewing potential firms to conduct a third-party quality and safety assurance review.

"The focus of MSU HealthTeam is to fully embrace the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s ‘Triple Aim’ of improving the health of our patient population, enhancing the experience and outcomes of our patients, and reducing the per capita cost of care,” Ward said. “Our ability to successfully respond to this challenge, while simultaneously enhancing the work lives of our providers and staff, will result in a continuing benefit to the health and welfare of our patients and broader community.”