Mercy Clinics, Inc., is a subsidiary of Mercy Medical Center-Catholic Health Initiatives located in metropolitan Des Moines, Iowa, and includes over 40 primary care and specialty care clinics. All members of Mercy Medical Center strive for reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence in actively serving the unique and diverse needs of its patients.
Mercy Clinics became a Foundation-funded demonstration site in 2009 in order to expand upon the philosophy that it takes a proactive and prepared team to effectively provide high quality chronic care to their patients.
Del Konopka, RN, MS discusses the impact of patient decision aids at Mercy Clinics.
Current Shared Decision Making Activities
Mercy Clinics, Inc., currently has multiple pilot sites testing the benefits of using decision aids (DAs) to support the process of shared decision making (SDM). Providers at these pilot sites have access to Foundation decision aids (Shared Decision-Making® programs) on various topics including hip/knee osteoarthritis, diabetes low back pain and menopause. Not all pilot sites have access to each of these decision aids.
An Innovative Model for Shared Decision Making
Each primary care site within Mercy Clinics employs a number of health coaches to coordinate care, educate patients and support them in meeting their goals. Staff and providers at Mercy are building on this existing resource to create a shared decision making program centered on the health coaches. Health coaches distribute decision aids during face-to-face consultations with patients, answer any questions a patient may have and encourage them to use decision aid materials. After a patient views a decision aid, s/he meets with her/his health care provider to ask further questions and discuss concerns. Health coaches assist patients in completing a survey on knowledge and attitude about decision making both before and after viewing a decision aid. Together, patients and health care providers make a decision on the patients’ care. Each clinic site has a designated provider to champion the project and help address any barriers. The project team evaluates the program’s effectiveness by assessing data on claims, overall cost of care and the types of services used.
Mercy’s innovative model for shared decision making was featured in a Fox 4 News piece in November 2011.