A Team Approach - Omaha, Nebraska - CHI Health

A Team Approach

Article Date: Jan 12, 2011

Better outcomes, more efficient and cost effective care: that’s the future of health care in America. But as Larry & Dot Engelhardt will tell you, the future is now at Alegent Health Clinic.

The Engelhardts have been strolling hand in hand for 58 years — they do just about everything together. Walking is a big part of their life now, a far cry from where they were a few months ago.

"He was retired," Dot says of her husband. "He was a couch potato."

Larry couldn’t get off the couch. Diabetes, extra weight — he tipped the scales at 240 pounds — and heart disease were slowing him down. That all changed when their doctor introduced them to the concept of a medical home.

"Our doctor told us about this thing and asked if we’d like to join it," Larry explains.

That "thing" is a patient-centered model of health care that has been around since the 60’s in pediatrics, bringing a team of providers together to support patients with chronic and often complex diseases.

"He said they started a diabetes clinic that’s a group thing after hours. You talk to pharmacists dietitians and ask questions — anything you want to know," he says.

The group visit is just one phase of the medical home model. But it’s already changing Larry & Dots’ lives. Once a month they join other patients living with diabetes to meet with a team of Alegent Health Clinic experts. Together they learn how to tackle diabetes from diet to exercise to lifestyle changes.

"We just want to see you get your diabetes under control," says their family doctor, Alegent Health Clinic’s Lewis Eirinberg, M.D.

This proactive team approach is what medical home is all about — and Dr. Eirinberg says the team doesn’t end with the providers.

"We use other patients to hold them accountable," he says. "They call each other to make sure they are taking their medicine and exercising. We’ve seen tremendous results."

Larry and Dot are taking full advantage of the medical home. They’re eating better and living lighter. Larry’s lost 55 pounds, is no longer on insulin and dropped one of his heart medications.

"I feel good," he explains. "I don’t mind getting up and getting out."

"It’s proactive," says Dot. "We’re not just home taking a pill — we are out doing something about staying healthy as we age."

And with the help of Dr. Eirinberg and their medical home, they’re taking charge of their health care one step at a time.

If you would like more information on medical home or to find a physician who is right for you, call 1-800-ALEGENT or go to Alegent.com/doctors.

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