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Claire West, MD, and Julia Tompkins, MSW, LCSW, outside the brand-new UNC Medicine Clinic at Panther Creek, which opened January 21, 2020.

After months of construction and planning, UNC Health Care at Panther Creek, located at the corner of Highway 55 and McCrimmon Parkway, officially opened on January 21, 2020, placing department of medicine specialists from internal medicine, cardiology, pulmonology and nephrology alongside a variety of UNC Health Care entities, to better serve the growing population of western Wake County.

According to Claire West, MD, medical director of the UNC Medicine Clinic at Panther Creek and associate professor in the division of general internal medicine, efforts to prepare paid off, with embedded clinical coaches and engaged support staff, who held kaizen events to collectively think through many aspects of the patient encounter.

Linda Raftery, vice chair for administration in the department of medicine, visited a planning event.

“My first session was full on day one, with mostly new patient appointments, and these patients were excited to have a new clinic in their neighborhood,” said West. “Panther Creek is a reorganization of primary and subspecialty care, with workflows that will improve the patient experience and ensure efficiencies at every turn. It also represents the One UNC Health vision, realized on opening day.”

“A primary care physician saw a patient the day we opened, who was having breathing problems. This patient was referred to pulmonology, and a pulmonary specialist had an opening within minutes.  As a result, a rapid diagnosis was able to be made and management of this condition started right away.”

“It was exciting to witness a real-time referral, where two physicians were able to debrief in the off-stage space, and care for a patient quickly and efficiently.”

Several kaizen events took place before Panther Creek opened.

Kaizen, a Japanese word defined as “change for better” is also a business philosophy that contributes to a culture of continuous improvement, where all employees are actively engaged in suggesting and implementing organizational improvements. West says in the future, regular gatherings for clinical discussions will keep Panther Creek continuously focused on improving patient-centered practice.


A complete list of clinics at UNC Health Care Panther Creek can be found here.