377 MDG: Putting Patients First

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Spencer Kanar
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Putting patients first is the top priority of the 377th Medical Group at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. By fostering an open dialogue with patients and coordinating with local hospitals and members of the Patient Family Partnership Council, the 377 MDG strives to provide better care for their patients.

The 377 MDG is part of a growing list of healthcare facilities starting their own branch of the PFPC or a similar program. The program gives patients and their families the opportunity to collaborate with healthcare personnel to consolidate patient feedback and advise 377 MDG leadership on possible solutions or improvements to patient care.

“The Patient and Family Partnership Council works with the patient population to improve processes and experience,” said Jennifer Rice, 377 MDG patient advocate. “A patient would bring up an issue and the partnership would work collaboratively to fix the issue or improve the process.”

Recently, the 377 MDG has worked towards improving the referral management system after receiving feedback from patients.

“Referrals are a very complicated process, and a lot of that process is broken,” said Jennifer Rice, 377 MDG “We don’t own a lot of the process, but we do our best to improve the things we can control.”

In response, the 377 MDG has created a referral window open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. where patients can talk face-to-face with someone who will help them through the referral process. In addition to the referral window, the 377 MDG also opened a message box for service members who work overnight or can’t make it during the day.

The 377 MDG not only collaborates with patients, but also with local hospitals. Networking with local hospitals has provided additional resources for healthcare providers at the 377 MDG and their patients. This has led to reduced wait times for patients, especially for those who need to see specialty care.

“When a health care provider knows a patient needs to be seen by a specialty clinic, and they have the connections with that clinic, they can get that patient seen sooner,” said Rice. “I can’t give providers more money, but when you give providers resources and make them happy you have happy patients.”

As the PFPC program continues to expand within the 377 MDG, the MDG remains focused on becoming one of the best clinics in the Military Health System. By working with local hospitals and the community, the 377 MDG remains committed to improving processes and providing safe, quality and trusted care for all its patients.