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EHR, Outreach, and Community Partners

Pamela Gorman, RN, ACRN, discusses the importance of clinics having team members who come from the community patients are being recruited from.

Segment Description: Pamela Gorman, RN, ACRN, Administrative Director, Early Intervention Program, Cooper University Healthcare, discusses the importance of clinics having team members who come from the community patients are being recruited from.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

Contagion®: Do you have any tips for clinicians who are struggling to retain patients in care?

Gorman: You have to sustain efforts by having a well-structured quality management team. You need to have individuals that are knowledgeable of how to export important data from one system into another, that's key. And this helps clinicians because if they're interested in doing their own projects and their own research on why they feel that the health care outcomes for their patients aren't where they want them to be data is what's going to help drive that knowledge and help you figure out what it is that you need to do in order to help patients. You need to meet the patient where they're at. So sometimes the things that we are doing in the clinic, we think it's best practice, and this is the way to go. But it's not necessarily what works best for the patient. And until you interview that patient, and you find out what their key challenges are, and you meet them in their community…having individuals that are a part of your team that are from the area that you are recruiting patients is key. Outreach, navigation doesn't work if you have individuals that are not familiar with the communities that your patients are coming from, and that allows your team to also be comfortable with going into those communities. If they're not from those communities, you know, people that are not from Camden may not be comfortable walking in some of Camden's neighborhoods. Partnering with community-based organizations and having the team that works or that is from that neighborhood or from those surrounding areas, it allows a comfort level with your team. And it allows relationships and partnerships to occur with those community-based organizations that are usually sustainable. The person that we have that does outreach has been doing it for years. She's from the Camden community and she has worked in some of these community-based organizations. So that relationship is solid, and it helps us find these persons that are not in care.

Also, it helps us work with them and provide services at their location to help get patients in care. We do chronic disease self-management workshops and we offer these services at different community-based organizations, so that we're meeting the patient where they're at.

And it's important to make sure that your team is reflective of your patient population, that they speak their language. If you have a large Spanish-speaking population, you really can't perform outreach unless they're going out and they understand the language that is spoken by the people within the community. And a lot of that has to do with the culture, the culture of your community as well. If you come from that community, then you are going to understand the culture, know what is acceptable, how to approach people, what the culture is for men and women and relationships. And it's important to have a team that knows how to do this, clinicians are not necessarily going to be familiar with all the cultures that are in the surrounding communities. But if you hire a team that is familiar, that is what's most helpful in supporting your efforts.