Innovation and Leadership

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Innovation and Leadership for the Future of Family Medicine

The key to the Future of Family Medicine is innovation in clinical care, education and research. As one of the top departments of Family Medicine in the country, the University of North Carolina has been a center of innovation for a generation. Residents have been involved at all stages of this effort.

Clinical Care – We have pioneered several innovations that we feel improve patient care and are helping to set future directions for our practice and for what Family Medicine will need to do to provide quality health care in the coming years.

  • Family Physicians as Hospitalists – Our Family Practice based hospitalist program has achieved national benchmark records of efficiency, cost and quality of care. We have demonstrated that family physician’s perform as well or better than traditional hospitalists.
  • Maternal & Child Health – Our high touch low-tech, combination of midwifery and evidence-based medicine has been very successful in our local market place. The focus on mothers and babies together is unique and attractive to our patients.
  • Emphasis on Underserved Care- In 2011, we expanded our residency to 10 positions with the plan for two of these ten to see their continuity panel at a local health center (Piedmont Health Services). With this, the emphasis for serving the underserved has grown. This ideal is fostered in our curriculum, emphasized in intern family medicine month, and put into practice during our QIP and MCH months as well as our experience with SHAC. Traditionally, we graduate 2-3 residents/year that go on to serve the underserved in Community Health Centers.
  • E-mail Correspondence with Patients – An important feature of the new Model of Practice is to develop new ways of interacting with patients. We have piloted UNC Health Care System’s email connection with patients for purposes of setting up appointments, changing medications, getting refills as well as communicating with doctors.

  • NCQA-3 Certified- We are proud to serve our patients in a Level 3 patient centered medical home.

Education – Our department has long been one of the national centers of innovation in Family Medicine education at the medical student, resident and fellow levels. In residency training we have piloted the following innovations:

  • Evidence-Based Medicine – For more than fifteen years, the University of North Carolina has been a national leader in translating evidence-based medicine into residency curricula. Through Critical Appraisal Rounds, Preventive Services, Quality projects and our Hospitalist and MCA program, we have integrated evidence-based medicine throughout the residency. Our clinically oriented approach has spread through residencies and departments across the country.
  • Maternal & Child Health – We developed an innovative curriculum which embodies a unique Family Medicine approach to birthing--high touch, low tech—and at the same time extends the focus to the care of children, including management of breast feeding, same day care for children, developmental tracking in the health department and teen clinics. Residents participate fully in all phases of the model, from group prenatal visits, to labor and delivery to discussions of contraception with teens.
  • Open Access/CQI - We have been one of the first residencies nationally to push open access for our residents. This has increased our continuity rate and improved patient satisfaction substantially. In our new Population Based Management curriculum, residents play a leadership role in management of schedules, open access and disease management. We believe that this is the wave of the future for the practice management curricula in Family Medicine.

Research– UNC Family Medicine researchers lead multidisciplinary teams are national leaders in rural health and long term care. New faculty have won NIH-funded research in spirituality, the efficacy of acupuncture, human sexuality, osteoporosis and exercise interventions in primary care. Also, as a founding member of the Family Practice Inquiries Network, the UNC Department of Family Medicine contributes clinically focused evidence based medicine to practicing doctors. We welcome resident input at any level in these projects

National Leadership – The University of North Carolina is also proud of its contribution to leadership in Family Medicine nationally. We are recognized in the top five of Departments of Family Medicine; approximately a quarter of the Chairs of Family Medicine nationally are alumni of one of our programs. In addition, members of our department have been Presidents or on the Board of Directors of all of the major organizations in Family Medicine over the last five years. We seek housestaff who wish to make a difference in their own communities, in the discipline or in academics.