- Introduction: A Top-Level Look at the Future of Federal Medicine
- Military Health System in Time of Transition as Conflicts End
- Army Medicine: Redefining Its Role in the Generation of a Ready and Resilient Force
- Air Force Medicine: Averting an Identity Crisis
- Moving Forward with Reforming the Indian Health Service
- The Clinical Pharmacy Specialist's Growing Provider Role in VA
- Public Health Service Pharmacy: Accelerating Transformation
- Military Pain Management’s Future: Less Invasive, More Data-Driven Techniques
- Navy Medicine: Strong, Agile and Ready
- Telemental Health in VA: A New Source of Support for Veterans
Improving Quality and Access to Care
Our third priority is to improve the quality of and access to care. IHS is focusing on improvements in customer service through implementation of activities for our staff, such as customer service training, education, feedback and awards for notable achievements. IHS also continues its implementation and expansion of our Improving Patient Care (IPC) initiative to sites throughout the Indian health system. This patient-centered medical home initiative is designed to improve the coordination of care for patients through team-based improvement activities. IPC sites are providing better continuity of care through the establishment of care teams, empanelment of patients, improvements in care processes and continuous evaluation and measurement of changes and their associated outcomes.
A few other initiatives also are helping us improve the quality of care. The congressionally-mandated Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) continues its successful activities to prevent and treat the epidemic of diabetes in tribal communities through implementation of innovative and culturally appropriate services. The SDPI evaluation data have shown that, since 1998, the programs have dramatically increased access to diabetes treatment and prevention services.
We also are giving top priority to behavioral-health issues, through implementation of our recently-released National Behavioral Health Strategic Plan and National Suicide Prevention Plan. Our congressionally-funded IHS Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative and Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative continue to provide evidence-based strategies for some of the most challenging issues in tribal communities. The IHS Healthy Weight for Life initiative unifies all our efforts to promote a healthy weight among American Indians and Alaska Natives. And we have joined the first lady’s “Let’s Move! in Indian Country” initiative, which includes our IHS Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative that is working to promote breastfeeding to help reduce childhood obesity.IHS also is participating in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts Campaign, with its goal of preventing a million heart attacks and strokes during the next five years. Our participation in the new HHS Partnership for Patients initiative will help reduce harm and improve patient safety in our hospitals through a focus on reducing hospital-acquired conditions and hospital readmissions. All of these efforts are contributing to improvements in the quality measures that IHS tracks over time. IHS will continue to make progress on these quality-of-care initiatives in FY 2013.
Transparent, Fair, Inclusive
Our fourth priority is to make all our work transparent, accountable, fair and inclusive. We have been working hard to improve transparency and communication about the work of the agency with the patients and tribes that we serve. We have enhanced our website to provide information on facility locations and tribal consultation activities, and have added an IHS director’s blog to provide important updates and information on agency activities. This priority also is about how we conduct business and make decisions that must benefit all of our patients, whether they are served by IHS, tribal or urban Indian health programs.
IHS has made progress on these priorities during the past few years, and we are beginning to hear from our patients and tribes that they are starting to notice improvements. While much remains to be done to improve IHS and the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native people, we are confident that 2013 will be a year of even more progress toward this goal.