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Hank Q4-2017

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Partnership: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Portrait of Dr. Pinera

I'm a believer: Emile Pinera, MD, was skeptical about UBTs at first. After seeing how partnership led to results for his patients, he's sold.

Georgia physician becomes an LMP advocate

Emile Pinera, MD, a second-generation Kaiser Permanente employee, came to the company five years ago and immediately became co-lead of an adult medicine unit-based team in the Georgia region.

“I had the clinical part down,” says Pinera, who is now lead physician for diversity and inclusion in Georgia and an adviser on the region’s transgender task force. But being a co-lead and working in a UBT were unfamiliar. “I had to implement my medical knowledge in a team, as opposed to a top-down approach where the doctor tells everyone what to do.” 

He wasn’t convinced at first—but the partnership approach and physician participation helped elevate the team’s performance, and it posted some of the region’s highest quality scores for managing diabetes and blood pressure. 

“We achieved it through hard work and collaboration,” Pinera says. “I loved working with my management and labor co-leads. We were respectfully honest about what was achievable. Working in the UBT gave us the tools to effectively communicate, track, adjust and improve.”

Pinera currently guides and supports co-leads as a UBT sponsor for three teams and is lead physician for three adult medicine offices. His enthusiasm helps his teams, the members and the Georgia region. 

“I was skeptical at first about UBTs’ relevance, but we couldn’t achieve our success with hypertension and diabetes management without each other’s help. I’m a believer,” he says. “My tip for fellow providers is to be engaged as much as possible, because it will help us achieve better outcomes and help our patients thrive.”

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