Innovative Primary Care Clinic Opens in Naperville
July 21, 2021 | 3 min. to read
Northwestern Medicine is launching a new model for primary care. The goal is to help patients with chronic illnesses and those ages 65 and older remain healthy and avoid hospitalization. The Northwestern Medicine Innovative Primary Care Clinic, located at 636 Raymond Drive in Naperville, offers highly individualized care using a team-based approach. A primary care physician, health coach and social worker collaborate to help patients overcome many common healthcare barriers.
“Our goal is to spend more time with this patient population to dig a little deeper into their healthcare history. We want to understand not only their health concerns but also their goals for a better quality of life,” says Aman Dhawan, MD, family medicine physician and medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Innovative Primary Care Clinic. “Managing health care more closely in an outpatient setting has been shown to reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Patients will notice a difference the minute they walk into the clinic. There is no waiting. A health coach will meet with them to discuss health concerns and life goals. The health coach will then talk with the primary care physician, and the two will return to the patient room and work together.
“It is important for the health coach to be present as they will become the advocate and access point for the patient,” says Dr. Dhawan. “As an appointment wraps up, there can be a lot for patients to understand. The health coach will provide support and accountability.”
Health coaches are trained in motivational interviewing. This technique helps people identify challenges that may be keeping them from changing. It then empowers them to adopt and sustain healthy lifestyle behaviors. A health coach also becomes the patient’s touch point for navigating the healthcare system. They help patients make appropriate medication changes and assist in scheduling visits to specialists. The same coach will follow up with patients after appointments to check on their progress.
“The older you get, the more complex health care becomes. It is difficult to navigate specialists, tests, appointments and transportation,” explains Dr. Dhawan. “We want to help our patients overcome these barriers to make their lives better and more joyful.”
The Innovative Primary Care Clinic also has a social worker on-site. They help address the mental and social needs of patients, including food and housing insecurities, transportation issues, isolation and cultural barriers.
The Innovative Primary Care Clinic is another example of how Northwestern Medicine is designing healthcare models to deliver high value. Value-based health care is focused on helping patients improve their health to reduce overall healthcare spending. Dr. Dhawan says this model of care is good for the patient and the provider.
“We want to inspire the joy of providing primary care medicine,” says Dr. Dhawan. “By ensuring our team is fulfilled every single workday, that will translate to better care and positive change for our patients.”
The Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group Innovative Primary Care Clinic is now accepting patients ages 65 and older. To learn more, please call 331.732.4500 (TTY: 711).