Western University of Health Sciences’ Western Diabetes Institute (WDI) is a Finalist for the 2015 cohort global health care entrepreneur selection process of the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery (IPIHD).

“WDI’s integrated practice unit is being increasingly recognized by people around the world,” said WDI Executive Director Andrew S. Pumerantz, DO, FACP. “The ‘integrated practice unit model’ is an important disruptive innovation with the potential to improve access to high-value care for a large number of people around the world affected by diabetes and associated multiple health conditions.”

WDI made the top category out of 115 nominated organizations from around the world. Being named a finalist is an affirmation of the work accomplished at WDI during the past five years, Pumerantz said.

“There are a lot of very talented and brilliant innovators from all corners of the globe vying for a spot in the IPIHD 2015 cohort,” he said. “I’m honored that WDI will be in the running.”

WDI developed a one-stop shop for comprehensive diagnosis, as well as a new bundled payment model for bundled, personalized services delivered across a year-long care cycle.

“This innovation requires a lot of collaboration, transparency and teamwork,” Pumerantz said.

“It’s a new paradigm. In order to improve the health and wellness of an individual, it requires real-time communication, the ability to diagnose and intervene early, and a lot of feedback learning. In turn, a healthier patient will develop fewer of the complications that drive the engine of escalating health care utilization and cost.”

However, there are many barriers to delivering team-based care to people with long-term conditions. A person with diabetes and associated multi-morbidity may see a dozen different providers scattered across the “health care ecosystem” that is a fragmented mix of electronic and paper health records that do not interface with each other, Pumerantz said.

“It is unrealistic to expect that everyone with diabetes can or will travel to Pomona for his or her care,” he said. “We must provide coordinated, integrated care across providers and facilities. We must create solutions that connect all the stakeholders.”

WDI is in the process of reinventing the business model of caring for people with long-term complex health conditions, Pumerantz said. WDI’s model of cross-disciplinary, team-based care involves task shifting, which includes a care coordinator, clinical pharmacist, and the patient serving as the “core” of the “collaborative therapeutic alliance.”

“Ideally, clinical pharmacists would team up with care coordinators within community pharmacies that are linked, through mobile teleHealth technology, with experts in a WDI-type hub and the rest of the health care ecosystem to share actionable data and provide virtual and asynchronous, cross-disciplinary, team-based care year round,” Pumerantz said.

Founded in 2011 by Duke Medicine, McKinsey & Company, and the World Economic Forum, IPIHD is a diverse and global network composed of innovative health enterprises, multinational health care companies, foundations, and health systems leaders. IPIHD’s mission is to increase access to affordable, high-quality care, and to work closely with organizations to scale their impact by providing connections to strategic partners and funders; access to business support and learning forums with peers; promotion of work at global events and in the media; and opportunity to advance global health innovation through research and knowledge development.

IPIHD seeks organizations with innovative health care offerings and business models that strive to be self-sustaining, are seeking to scale their impact, and want to collaborate with others. Organizations are selected each January for a three-year commitment at no cost to their organization, and the process is highly competitive. www.ipihd.org

The Western Diabetes Institute at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, is an integrated practice and research unit whose mission is to deliver high-value, team-based care to people living with diabetes and associated multi-morbidities. As an academic health center, WDI provides health professions students from multiple disciplines with education and training in longitudinal, team-based care that is fundamental to improving the health and well-being of a large and growing number of people living with one or more long-term, complex diseases. WDI consists of various units, including the Endocrine and Insulin Titration Clinics; the Heart and Vascular Center; the Center for Kidney Health; the Center for Fitness and Function; the Center for Periodontal Health; the Diabetes Education and Nutrition Unit; the Care Coordination Unit; the Behavioral Health Unit; and the Research Unit. WDI collaborates with WesternU’s Eye Care Center, which is also housed in the Patient Care Center.