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Virtual Integrated Practice

What VIP Means for You

The aging of America is a reality. Today, over 35 million Americans are over the age of 65 and, in thirty years, that number will have doubled. With more people surviving until old age, and more treatment options for the management of chronic disease, both the public and private sectors wrestle with the threat of ever increasing health care costs.

Beginning in the 1900s, managed care plans experimented with a variety of strategies to contain costs. One approach was the carving out of chronic disease care to so-called disease management companies. These companies promised lower costs and improved care for patients with a variety of conditions. In some cases, the approach was successful, but there were also many problems. Patients were often confused by the arrival of new, semi-anonymous service providers, and did not know how they interacted with their own physicians. The medical community was skeptical, fearing that patients would be "carved away" from them. Cost savings proved elusive. And there was always the problem of the patient with more than one chronic condition, falling outside the realm of neat, standard protocols.

VIP provides enhanced chronic disease management without adding a layer of bureaucracy. Care is still organized under the patient's primary care physician. With VIP, however, that care is undertaken by a coordinated team of social workers, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others. Patients receive better care, and cost savings are realized because the physician is no longer performing the tasks that other, less expensive professionals can do.

VIP delivers interdisciplinary geriatric team care where patients and providers want it, and in a familiar form. Quantitative data on outcomes will ensure that VIP teams continuously examine their care processes and improve their work. Virtual Integrated Practice will introduce a system which will achieve better patient care without driving up costs.



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