Practice transformation is much in the air at AAFP headquarters these days, with talk of transforming family practices into patient-centered medical homes and the coming conclusion of the TransforMED demonstration project. And the term conjures up exciting visions of a practice stepping into a telephone booth and emerging a few moments later with a big red S on its chest. Unfortunately, it also seems to suggest that your practice can exist only in one of two forms –as the mild-mannered, ineffectual practice it is or the superpractice it could be.
We at FPM recognize that the transformation process is neither so dramatic nor so absolute as the word suggests. Many modes of practice exist between the Clark Kent variety and the superpractice, and you can make the transition gradually. But we also recognize the importance of the process. Each step along the way can mean better patient care, better patient satisfaction, better job satisfaction for you and your staff, and a better profit margin for your practice. Moreover, if the Academy's vision is realized and the practice that can transform itself into a patient-centered medical home indeed becomes the heart and soul of the health care system, the pain of practice transformation may be both amply rewarded and perhaps the only alternative to marginalization.
FPM's belief that every family practice has the potential to be better than it is – and that improvement can benefit physicians, staff, patients and the whole community – has led us to follow every major development in practice improvement from our earliest issues through the current efforts of TransforMED. We've tried to give a realistic account of what's possible and of what family physicians have actually accomplished, always with an eye to helping readers improve their own practices and professional lives. As a result, when the Academy recently posted an online list of AAFP resources for practice transformation (see https://www.aafp.org/transformation), the bulk of the list turned out to be FPM articles. (You can find the sublist of FPM articles at https://www.aafp.org/fpm/transformation.) The articles in that list don't form the phone booth you'd need for instant transformation, but they do mark the path to more successful practice, and FPM will go along if you want to take that path.