Organization within and across specialties:
Permanente physicians are a team, a group of colleagues who share the same goals.
Medicine has long been a marriage of science and art practiced by experts who work alone or in small private practices. With complexity, technology, and regulatory change, more physicians have joined forces with hospitals and health systems; but few are truly together as colleagues within a single medical practice. Instead, they often continue to practice independently with limited ability to coordinate care, make seamless handoffs, or find out what a patient has been told by another doctor.
Because we are truly one medical practice, our doctors see the other doctors as their partners and colleagues. Permanente physicians interact with each other. They function as a team formed to serve the best interests of patients. At all locations, multiple services are available under one roof. And our electronic medical records system allows physicians to connect and collaborate across locations easily.
Permanente physicians can refer patients to one another for consultations without insurance companies' medical necessity pre-authorization. The handoff is enhanced because they can see each other's schedules and confirm appointment times on the spot. Plus, specialists work with primary care doctors to establish guidelines that ensure the patient has all the testing and preparation needed before seeing a specialist. If a face-to-face visit isn't necessary, it is easy to get expert input from specialists via phone or electronically.
This teamwork among multispecialty colleagues not only helps to avoid redundant work and repeat testing, but it improves reliability of care quality and the patient experience. It also opens the door to innovative solutions to health problems that are difficult for just one expert to solve.