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Collaboration stressed at Louisiana Summit

More than 300 health care professionals and stakeholders recently came together in Baton Rouge, La., to exchange ideas about caring for the state’s residents. “The Future of Health Care Delivery in Louisiana,” an all-day event held on January 21, 2015, focused on the state’s health care challenges and ways health care professionals working collaboratively can improve health care delivery and access to care in the state. Summit participants included advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses, physicians, physician assistants, insurers, business leaders and policy-makers.

The event was sponsored by the Louisiana Action Coalition (LAC), part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national initiative to guide implementation of the recommendations in The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a landmark Institute of Medicine report. The report, released in October 2010, includes evidence-based recommendations on how nurses, the largest segment of the health care workforce, can contribute to improving our health care system. The campaign envisions that everyone in America can live a healthier life, supported by a system in which nurses are essential partners in providing care and promoting health.

“Although many of LAC’s initiatives focus on strengthening the nursing profession specifically, we know that interprofessional collaboration is key to meeting the challenges of providing care in the rapidly changing health care environment, “ said Cynthia Bienemy, PhD, RN, director of the Louisiana Center for Nursing and co-lead for LAC. “We hope that by getting this group together in a collaborative setting, we can strengthen relationships among all providers as we learn about innovations happening right here in our state.”

Interprofessional collaboration was the theme that ran through all of the day’s presentations and discussions. Rebekah Gee, MD, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Medicaid Medical director, gave the morning session keynote address. She spoke about the state’s low rankings in nearly every category of health and suggested that if we want to see an improvement in these rankings, healthcare delivery in Louisiana must change. Gee identified delivery models involving interprofessional teams as a strategy that can help improve health care outcomes in our state.

The day’s other general session speaker, Vindell Washington, MD, MHCM, vice president for Performance Excellence and Technology for Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, spoke about the paradigm shift from a single responsible provider to the health care team approach. He compared the potential for improved results to the change that occurred in the airline industry in 1980 when responsibility for all aspects of the flight shifted from just the pilot to the plane’s entire crew. A chart in Washington’s presentation showed a dramatic decrease in the percentage of pilot errors in US commercial airline accidents. “A team approach supported by technology and systems minimizes human error,” he said.

A panel discussion brought together four perspectives to discuss health care delivery systems in the state. David Carmouche, MD, BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana medical director, represented insurers on the panel; Ray Peters, SPHR, vice president of Human Resources and Marketing for RoyOMartin, represented employers; and advanced practice, non-physician professionals were represented on the panel by Dana Clawson, DNS, WHNP-BC, and Shelly Williamson Esnard, PA-C. Peters was one of several health care stakeholders who attended the summit to share consumers’ perspectives.

The day’s program included three morning breakout sessions and three afternoon breakout sessions. Topics included population health, long-term and aged care environments, behavioral health care delivery, informatics, Veteran’s Administration home and community-based care and models of care delivery for learners.

Karen Lyon, PhD, APRN, ACNS, NEA, Louisiana State Board of Nursing executive director, led the summit planning group for LAC. “We set out with hopes to fill 300 seats at the summit,” said Lyon. “Within 24 hours of posting our registration information we were nearly full, and we ended up with more than 500 on the waiting list. This shows there is a keen interest among health professionals in Louisiana to work together in developing innovative models for the delivery of safe, cost-effective, patient-centered care that is accessible to every citizen.”

The speakers' presentations can be found on the LAC website here: 2015 FHCD Summit

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