NEMG celebrates Preventive Health Coordinators

PHC Graduates

(l-r): Karen Brown, MD; Andrea Waller, PHC; Stephanie Nobile, PHC; Margaret Shalagan, PHC; and Stephanie Beauton, practice operations manager

As part of NEMG’s initiative to enhance preventive health care, Karen Brown, MD, and Stephanie Beauton, practice operations manager, spearheaded the service line of population health and added the preventive health coordinator (PHC) position. The position was developed to provide a proactive, practice-based resource to help patients achieve their highest quality of life.

PHCs serve as liaisons for population health and primary care providers to enhance patient care. Using a conversational approach instead of asking the patient to complete a screening, PHCs provide education on the importance of preventive care and behavior changes to maintain healthier lifestyles. Additionally, they focus on patient outreach, communicating with patients who have had an extended lapse in a visit to the office, to notify them of needed preventive services and to help close gaps in care that are not being addressed.

NEMG’s newest PHCs include:

  • Andrea Waller, NEMG Family Medicine, Trumbull, CT
  • Stephanie Nobile, NEMG Shoreline Internal Medicine, Guilford, CT
  • Margaret Shalagan, NEMG 4A Devine Street Internal Medicine, North Haven, CT 

Dr. Brown and Beauton directed the PHCs’ three-month training program, meeting with them weekly and educating them on screening guidelines and best-practice workflows. Within the first three months, the coordinators were able to increase the percentage of patients that had preventive screenings and optimize workflows and patient outreach within their practice. The PHC support team included Dr. Brown, Beauton, Claudia Sammartano, practice optimization specialist, and Kate Roccon, care coordination manager.

The PHCs learned to use quality performance dashboards and workbench reporting to proactively identify patients who were behind on health maintenance screenings such as diabetic eye and foot exams, colon-cancer screenings, breast-cancer screenings, cervical-cancer screenings, osteoporosis screenings and vaccinations. They also were able to identify patients due for office visits and lab orders, such as annual wellness visits, physical exams and diabetes management.

“The PHC program exemplifies how beneficial communication is to the overall wellness of our patients,” said Prathibha Varkey, MBBS, NEMG president and CEO. “I appreciate Dr. Brown and her support team’s passion and perseverance in creating a position that opens the door to so many possibilities for preventive care throughout NEMG.”