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Creating a balanced patient panel is essential whether an organization is working to achieve a primary care medical home designation or to improve patient care. Empanelment (i.e., assigning each provider a set number of patients) is a proven method to create continuity for both patients and providers. In turn, patient continuity is associated with reductions in appointment demand, hospitalizations, referrals, labs and imaging, prescriptions, and no-show rates. Although eager to see these benefits of empanelment, many organizations don’t know where to start, how to adjust their existing panels to account for staff changes, or how to optimize their system to achieve the best results. 
To provide office practices with the tools they need to create a reliable system for connecting patients to a specific provider and care team, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is offering Empanelment and Continuity: Ensuring Long-Term Relationships Between Patients and Providers. The latest in the Excellence in Primary Care Web&ACTION series, this program will help participants fairly and equitably distribute patients among the physicians in their practice. Additionally, they will learn how to monitor and update their panels to account for staffing changes and part-time status. Expert faculty will provide a proven, tested approach to developing panels, and the tools to ensure continuity between patients and providers.

Participants in this program will be able to:
  • Explain why empanelment and continuity are building blocks for continued success
  • Teach care team members to understand how empanelment is the gateway to continuity
  • Take steps to maximize the likelihood that patients will see their primary care physician and care team when seeking care
  • Apply the empanelment process to a clinic’s patient population
  • Describe the literature support for empanelment’s positive impact on patient and staff satisfaction and patient outcomes
  • Discuss the business case for empanelment and continuity
Achieving Excellence in Primary Care Series
Primary care practices in many countries are juggling the issues of improving the quality of care for patients, improving the patient experience, and meeting increasing demands from numerous directions — all happening in environments of economic stress. Reform, reorganization, medical home, meaningful use, and payment based on quality outcomes rather than volume will each require significant changes in thinking and practice. Providers and office staff are already challenged by workload and conflicting external pressures, making it difficult to see that change is possible.
To address this, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has developed a new series of Primary Care Web&ACTION programs titled Achieving Excellence in Primary Care. This series will bring primary and specialty care practices the most current knowledge on a variety of topics in an easily accessible and actionable format. Practices of all sizes, based on their unique needs, can choose to engage in any number of programs to share ideas and develop strategies for change and improvement.