AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties
Mark Beamer

Mark Beamer, MD
Pungo Family Medicine, Improving Performance in Practice (IPIP) initiative

Beaufort County | Eastern AHEC

Mark Beamer, MD, Pungo Family Medicine, Improving Performance in Practice (IPIP) initiative

As part of a focus on improving health care quality and clinical performance, the Eastern Area Health Education Center (EAHEC,) partnering with the Brody School of Medicine Office of CME (OCME) and the Community Care Plan of Eastern NC, has been actively involved with the Improving Performance in Practice (IPIP) initiative.  IPIP is a national initiative, funded with seed money by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the American Board of Medical Specialties in North Carolina, which allowed IPIP to grow into a large, statewide quality initiative.

During the pilot year, 2007, 10 practices in Eastern North Carolina participated in the program.  All practices are to be commended for their hard work and improvement. Several additional practices have joined the program since January 2008.

Highlighted here, among the group of practices in the pilot year, is Pungo Family Medicine located in Belhaven, North Carolina, a small rural community about an hour east of Greenville.  Mark Beamer, MD is the solo physician in this practice with a large patient population. In addition, Beamer covers in the Emergency Room at Pungo District Hospital (a small “critical access” facility).

While keeping this very busy schedule, Beamer meets and often exceeds national measures being tracked in the IPIP program with particular focus on the care of persons with diabetes.  In those measures where there were initially lower percentages, documented improvement during the first year of the program has been significant - as much as 60%.   It may be that more robust documentation associated with system redesign has accounted for the bulk of this documented improvement.

Beamer is able to accomplish this because of the efficiency of his practice.  He has focused on the systems in his office.  He is continually working to improve the use of his electronic medical record. Templates have been revised to assure that necessary information may be captured and mapped appropriately to the database.  The templates also allow quick and efficient documentation of the patient’s history, examination and health findings and needs. He has written protocols which have been placed into the electronic health record. These protocols indicate when specific diagnostic studies and examinations are due. 

Personnel in his office have been trained and given the responsibility to initiate any care or procedures within their scope of practice under these protocols.  When issues are identified where improvement is needed, plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles are initiated to develop the improvements in a methodical but efficient manner.  Beamer reviews his data regularly and takes steps to make changes whenever and wherever necessary.

Mark Beamer and his staff are to be commended for their participation in the IPIP program.  As a result of his work on diabetes care,  Beamer has earned 20 hours of CME, Category 1 and AAFP credit, now available for physicians who work systematically to improve patient outcomes in their practice.