The Mass General Brigham Integrated Care Model: Q&A with Lindsay Gainer, RN, MSN, VP of Operations Development
Before joining the Mass General Brigham Integrated Care team as Vice President of Operations Development, Lindsay Gainer, RN, MSN, trained as a registered nurse and has worked in a variety of settings as a health care leader for over 20 years. She’s worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings and saw a real need to help patients find care in a coordinated way, which is why she wanted to join the Integrated Care team. In this Q&A, she explains how the Integrated Care model works at Mass General Brigham, what makes it special, and why she sees this as the future of community-based care.
Q: How would you describe the Integrated Care model?
Gainer: Patients and families are looking for convenience and access, so I’m really excited about bringing care closer to home.
Our Integrated Care locations are multidisciplinary facilities where you can potentially see your primary care physician and other specialists without having to leave and find another suite in the building. The staff and providers share a workspace and have access to the same information to provide care for patients. You don't have silos between different specialty areas. Instead, it’s one integrated care model that results in an improved experience for patients because our providers are working together to provide truly integrated and collaborative care.
One of the things that we're really striving for is more of a warm, hospitality feel in our facilities, rather than a cold, clinical feel. We know that when patients walk into a building that feels very sterile and very clinical, it's anxiety-provoking. We want to make sure that this experience feels calming and welcoming. The most important thing is that we are hiring people who have high levels of empathy and kindness and are passionate about delivering the best care for our patients.
Q: What makes the Integrated Care model at Mass General Brigham special?
Gainer: We want to get to know our patients as whole human beings and we really want to build a relationship with patients. We don't want this to just be transactional health care. We believe that through care centered around relationships, we can best help people to health and wellness. We don't want to just treat problems. We want people to be healthy and we believe that relationships with your physicians and the entire team are so important. We want people to have comfort and familiarity when they when they interact with our team.
Q: Why is this model so advantageous for patients?
Gainer: Many of our patients drive downtown to Boston for care because they don’t have an offering near them. Our locations in Watertown, Burlington, and soon in Salem, NH provide that same comprehensive care closer to home. Our hope is that these Integrated Care locations become familiar health destinations and an important part of these communities. We also want to ensure that patients can access care conveniently and at times that work for their schedule. We can deliver virtual care or in-person care close to home when needed, and because we are part of Mass General Brigham, we can also connect patients to hospital care when they need it.
Q: How do you expect this care model to improve the future of patient care at Mass General Brigham and beyond?
Gainer: We’ve heard from our research that the health care industry makes it hard for patients to get what they need. That could be everything from a quick answer to a question to needing to see a specialist, and there’s no malintent, but it can be difficult for patients to navigate complicated health care systems and to find what they need.
We're really thinking about designing our teams, our processes, our facilities, and our virtual tools to make it easier to get what you need when you need it. Patients should never worry alone. Patients should never feel like they get lost. I truly believe what we're building is going be easier. We are going to get answers to patients’ questions sooner.