Faculty in the Division of Family Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health have become the first to officially move into Duke Health’s new clinical practice model. Department Chair Anthony Viera, MD, MPH, says the division has taken an important first step in creating a better patient experience and enhanced opportunities for training the next generation of family medicine physicians.
“Our transition to the new clinical practice model will facilitate greater support of our clinical and academic missions,” Viera says. “The transition will also better equip our clinical practice and residency to more fully engage in quality improvement, striving for better patient outcomes and greater provider satisfaction as we work on practice transformation.” According to Viera, goals of practice transformation include better access for patients, coordinated care teams, and data-driven improvement.
Viera says the transition will also help advance important initiatives, such as the development of a new site for the family medicine clinic and residency. Duke Family Medicine Center and the Family Medicine Residency have been housed at the Marshall I. Pickens Building, 2100 Erwin Road in Durham, since 1991.
The transition was effective July 1, 2021, when faculty members in the Division of Family Medicine were no longer members of the Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC). They are now temporarily employed in Duke University Health System (DUHS), using a temporary organizational structure within Duke University Affiliated Physicians (DUAP), but will move into the new Duke Faculty Practice based in the School of Medicine in July 2022.
Duke Family Medicine Center, where division faculty primarily care for patients, was already a Duke University Hospital outpatient clinic, and is closely tied to Duke Regional Hospital, where faculty and residents manage a family medicine inpatient service and deliver babies at The Birth Place. Patient care will continue to be managed in DUHS.
Under the new clinical practice model, the partnership between the Division of Family Medicine and Duke Primary Care (DPC) will also continue to grow. The Department of Family Medicine & Community Health is the academic and training home for family medicine at Duke, and many residency graduates join DPC practices. The two groups will continue to collaborate and work on larger primary care workforce and quality improvement initiatives, including the evolution of primary care in a value-based environment.
“Duke Family Medicine and Duke Primary Care have a strong relationship, and this transition will make it even stronger,” Viera says. “We already have been collaborators and partners on the Family Medicine Rural Training Track, medical student education, CME offerings, and even fellowship programs such as the Duke Primary Care Transformation Fellowship.”
About the Division and Department
The Division of Family Medicine was formed in 1972, along with the residency program, in the then-named Department of Community Health Sciences. In 1979, family medicine became a required clinical rotation and clinical clerkship in the School of Medicine’s Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program, and the department was re-named Community & Family Medicine (and later re-named Family Medicine & Community Health in 2019). Due in large part to historic challenges the department faced with acceptance of the family medicine specialty at Duke, division faculty did not become members of the PDC until 1995 and did not have admitting privileges at Duke University Hospital for decades.
In addition to the Division of Family Medicine, other divisions in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health include Community Health, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Physician Assistant Studies, and Student Health. The department is home to the No. 1-ranked Duke Physician Assistant Program.