And they have; nurses have caught potentially dangerous situations early on through their constant contact. If a nurse learns through a contact call that a patient is having a reaction to a treatment, the nurse can ask the patient to come to the outpatient center right away. Moreover, by catching any problems in the early stages, Ali explains that his practice is able to give the patient fluids and other treatments on an outpatient basis and avoid a hospital admission. "We don't want them to go to the hospital, we want them to go home," he says.
The financial benefit of that isn't lost on Bengston's organization, either. "From a dollars standpoint … managing this as outpatient is cheaper to our system then managing it inpatient. And, certainly from the patients' standpoints, they are definitely happier," he said.
Though Ali has only been operating the practice for a year, the system has begun tracking positive results. He was projected to have 72 new patients in his first year and he currently has 132. Being able to take on that patient capacity so rapidly while still maintaining a very personal approach to care is exactly the goal Ali and Fauquier were striving for. And, patient satisfaction scores are beginning to reflect that — for outpatient special procedures, satisfaction climbed from 83.9% in 2009 and 2010 to 84.5% in the first six months of 2011.
"What makes our program work is we make sure no one falls through the cracks," says Ali. "The team approach to each patient and listening to each patient's needs and situation means we can get them through the treatment … and maintain their quality of life. I think that's what makes this practice unique."