Guest Editorial

AAFP, TransforMED Combine Knowledge to Better Serve Members

November 30, 2011 06:40 pm Terry McGeeney, M.D., M.B.A., and Bruce Bagley, M.D.

It was only seven years ago that the Future of Family Medicine report( recommended that primary care in the United States adopt a new model of health care focused on creating a medical home for patients. The report also called for creation of a financially self-sustaining national resource center to provide support to FP practices as they transitioned to this new model of care.

[Terry McGeeney, M.D., M.B.A., Pres./CEO TransforMED]

Terry McGeeney, M.D., M.B.A.

The AAFP took responsibility for implementing those recommendations, and TransforMED(, a wholly owned AAFP subsidiary, opened for business in 2005.

The first task for TransforMED was to actually test the model of care laid out in the Future of Family Medicine report. Thus, the company embarked on a two-year national demonstration project that involved more than 30 FP practices testing the provisions of the patient-centered medical home, or PCMH.

That project -- which ended in 2008 and yielded an in-depth report last year -- taught us much about the PCMH model. We learned a lot from the demonstration project itself, and we continue to accumulate knowledge about what does and doesn't work when implementing practice transformation via the PCMH model.

The AAFP had the vision to make a significant investment in TransforMED, and now you, as members of the Academy, will reap the benefits of what we've learned about practice transformation. In fact, as part of our efforts to make more resources than ever before available to Academy members, we are combining the AAFP's practice advancement resources with those of TransforMED. This enhanced relationship between the AAFP and TransforMED will add to the value of your membership and better support your journey through transforming your practice.

[Bruce Bagley, M.D., AAFP Med. Dir. Qual. Imprv.]

Bruce Bagley, M.D.

In the past, TransforMED's involvement with AAFP members typically was limited to those of you who were participating in the company's pilot programs or projects. Now, however, you -- and your practice managers and other staff -- will have expanded access to TransforMED's clinical and practice management experts and support. This will provide a more seamless experience for you when you need guidance and help with practice transformation.

For example, in the past, many of you have relied on AAFP staff, such as coding specialist Cindy Hughes, C.P.C., to help you with coding questions and problems. Hughes will devote roughly one-fourth of her time to working with TransforMED, so you still will be able to access her extensive coding knowledge.

In addition, Jason Mitchell, M.D., assistant director of the AAFP's Center for Health Information Technology, will spend nearly one-third of his time working with TransforMED. And Bruce Bagley, M.D., the AAFP's medical director of quality improvement, will hold the same title with TransforMED and split his time evenly between the AAFP and its subsidiary.

All of these changes will be largely unnoticeable to you, but overall customer service should improve. Members calling for help won't be bounced from TransforMED to various AAFP departments, or vice versa, as might have happened in the past.

In addition, TransforMED will focus on creating more webinars, tools and other resources to help provide you with easily accessible information about topics, such as care management and the use of registries.

By mingling the experience of the AAFP and TransforMED into one cohesive entity for you to engage with, our hope is that you will have a centralized resource you can turn to and receive help as you continue to work on transforming your practices to meet the needs of the future of health care.

Terry McGeeney, M.D., M.B.A., is president and CEO of TransforMED, the AAFP's wholly owned practice redesign subsidiary. Bruce Bagley, M.D., is the medical director of quality improvement for both the Academy and TransforMED.