Celebrating the Innovative Approaches of Michigan Physicians

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we know that our network of physicians does amazing work on a daily basis to keep Michiganders healthy. In honor of National Doctor’s Day, which is March 30, we wanted to take a moment to applaud all of our physicians—and highlight two in particular. These doctors are using innovative techniques to ensure patients are staying informed about how to improve their health and receiving the highest quality care available. Here’s a little more about what they do:

Dr. Amir Ghaferi
Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan, Director of the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative

His innovation: Dr. Ghaferi, along with four other collaborators, has started a monthly tweet chat forum to discuss misconceptions around obesity care and bariatric surgery with the public.

Where the idea came from: Dr. Ghaferi and his team saw other doctors using tweet chats to discuss topics like different types of cancer. They decided this would be a great outlet to talk about obesity, since it’s a format that allows for an open and honest discussion between providers, patients and the general public.

How the tweet chats work: At the scheduled time, anyone who wants to participate can get on Twitter and ask Dr. Ghaferi and his team questions such as how to effectively deal with one’s weight and options available to them. The virtual chats break down barriers of communication—it’s easier to ask a sensitive question through a computer as opposed to in-person.

There have been four tweet chats so far, covering a range of topics including the myths and misconceptions of bariatric surgery, psychological issues that arise after the surgery, insurance coverage of obesity and bariatric surgery and understanding/eliminating obesity bias. The next tweet chat is scheduled for Sunday, April 9, at 9 p.m. Follow Dr. Ghaferi on Twitter @AmirGhaferi and join in the tweet chat using #obsm. New to tweet chats? Use this website to help follow along with the conversation.

Dr. Khurshid R. Ghani
Assistant Professor of Urology at the University of Michigan in the Department of Urology, Co-Director of MUSIC

His innovation: Dr Ghani, along with other urologists, have developed a new state-wide initiative to improve the quality of care for patients with kidney stones, called MUSIC ROCKS.

Where the idea came from: As a part of a physician-led collaborative called MUSIC, which is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and focuses on improving the quality of care for patients with prostate cancer, Dr. Ghani and his team had been looking for a way to expand the program. Among urological conditions, kidney stone disease is one of the most common conditions a urologist treats. There are no effective medical therapies to treat kidney stones, making surgery the mainstay of treatment for patients with stones. Even as common as it is, the amount of money spent on understanding and improving the care of patients with kidney stone disease is low.

How it works: ROCKS stands for Reducing Operative Complications from Kidney Stones. In partnership with the Michigan Value Collaborative and the Michigan Emergency Department Improvement Collaborative, the MUSIC team has been following 11 practices across the state, gathering data from more than 1,400 patients since October 2016. They’ve been able to observe the Emergency Department (ED) visit rate of each practice after a kidney stone removal procedure has been performed. The goal is to learn how the procedures resulting in low ED visits differ from those with higher ED visits, and tackle avoidable ED visits. For example, is one practice doing a better job of educating patients about the side effects of surgery ahead of time? As the MUSIC team continues to gather data on more patients and practices throughout Michigan, they will work to provide insight into how practitioners can improve patient care before, during, and after the removal of kidney stones.

Without Dr. Ghaferi, Dr. Ghani and all of the other great physicians within our network, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan would not be the leader in health care that it is today. Thank you to our physicians for all of their hard work and dedication to exploring the innovative approaches that benefit our members and their well-being every day.

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Photo credit: US Army Africa

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