Home » MedTech Features » HMS Center for Primary Care, Innovations Conference, Poster Session and Interview with Dr. Joji Suzuki

HMS Center for Primary Care, Innovations Conference, Poster Session and Interview with Dr. Joji Suzuki

The poster session com consisted of SIXTY-EIGHT white boards profiling innovative primary care projects and studies.

One study by Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School was called “The Use of Resident Continuity Teams to Provide Patient Centered Care: A Pilot Study.”  As a resident, you normally only have clinic one day a week because of inpatient responsibilities.  And you don’t have clinic during any intensive care rotations because of the increased responsibilities.  Thus, it’s always difficult for the same patient to schedule repeat visits with you, and usually end up seeing a different resident every time.  This pilot study looks at patients belonging to teams of residents 3 residents.  Thus, the same patient would be guaranteed to see one of the three residents.  Any issues that a patient is having could then easily be discussed with others in the team.  Thus, even though the patient might see another team member, that team member would know any outstanding issues.

Another very interesting study that was led by David Brick and Mandie Wallinger with Dr. Joji Suzuki supervising was called “A Clinical Role for Undergraduate Student Interns in Primary Care.”  It acknowledges that shortages of primary care physicians have led to a reliance on Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and other healthcare professionals to fill the gap.  It also acknowledges that primary care providers are overburdened with large patient caseloads, leaving patients with limited interaction time with their provider.  We have all seen and felt it.  This study looks at using undergraduate student interns as extensions of professional healthcare providers, helping to fill the gap.  Specifically, Brigham and Women’s Hospital had undergraduate-level student interns acting as “Health Coaches,” helping to support opioid dependent and chronic pain patients being treated with Buprenorphine in the primary care setting.  The Health Coaches collaborated with a supervising psychiatrist, a clinical pharmacist care manager, and a primary care physician from the Jen Center for Primary Care.

At the end of the study, 100% of the surveyed primary care physicians who worked with the student interns in managing opioid dependence found that the interns took over some aspects of patients care, allowing the physician to make better use of his or her time and 100% also agreed that the student intern performed valuable aspects of patient care that the physician wouldn’t have time to do.

Joji Suzuki, MD, Medical Director of Addictions in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, David Brick, student intern with the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care, and Mandie Wallinger, student intern, talk about the project.


Vivian Ling, senior at Harvard College, Adriana Rodriguez, program coordinator, and Nisha Basu, MD, MPH, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center stand in front of their poster, “Registry Base Obstructive Sleep Apnea Screening of Patients with Type II Diabetes.

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

    My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.

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