A new study found that integrating Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training-Primary Care (GITT-PC) can improve primary care for older adults. 

Essentially, GITT-PC trains healthcare workers to function as a team while integrating geriatric care into primary care settings. It can focus on using nurses instead of doctors. Overall, the model aims to change practices by leveraging Medicare reimbursement billable codes for Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), Chronic Care Management (CCM), Advance Care Planning (ACP) and Dementia services. The study was published Friday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

Researchers implemented the model at five primary care offices in northern New England from September 2020 to April 2021. Most of the practices had fewer than 7500 patients, less than 10 providers and a minimal amount of registered nurses available. 

The study incorporated three other trials on the value of GITT-PC. The first examined staff training at the practices, especially satisfaction with the training and implementing the model. The second study looked at how patients responded to questions about what mattered most to them. It involved assessing the uptake of nurse-led Medicare AWVs; the number of the nurse-led visits before and after the intervention tripled, showing sustainability for the future. The third trial looked at how the team’s effort strengthened partnerships with community organizations. 

“Many of the innovations in the GITT-PC model can be implemented with no change in the regulatory environment; the impetus can come, as it has here, from primary care providers themselves,” the authors wrote. “However, reimbursement under Medicare could be restructured to more explicitly recognize and encourage the use of RN-led AWVs.”

Changing the electronic health record to emphasize a patient’s personal health goals would promote patient-centered care and cultivate better relationships between the patient and the care team, the authors said. 

Overall, there weren’t any negative impacts on clinical staff when using the model. In fact, it produced significant and sustainable improvements.