In New Jersey, health care students from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have patients to see. In fact, they see homeless patients for free and even raise money to cover medical costs if needed.
It’s safe to say that there aren’t many projects like the Rutgers University’s Homeless and Indigent Population Health Outreach Project (HIPHOP) across the nation. Their Promise Clinic is student-run and completely free for those in need of healthcare but can’t afford it. The primarily cater to uninsured patients in New Brunswick.
Team structure allows for seamless patient care transfer.
The way the Promise Clinic treats its patients is through a longitudinal care model. Here patients are seen by student-doctor teams. Each team is composed of one student from each of the four years of medical school. The senior team members would take on clinical lean while the junior members would advocate for their patient’s social needs. They would also be responsible for coordinating the patient’s care with psychiatric and social services with the help of social work and pharmacy students.
This team structure allows for a smooth year-to-year transfer of patient care. This way, everyone on the team has a good understanding of every patient’s history and needs. At the same time, this makes it easier for students to conduct efficient symptom and medication management. And because of this, there is a greater chance that the patient can adapt and sustain a more positive lifestyle. On the other hand, the Promise Clinic system also allows students to better manage a patient’s long-term care in case they are suffering from a critical condition. ” By providing a continuum of care to the same patient over four years, students gain a strong knowledge of the patient’s condition and form a bond,” Promise Clinic student director Stephanie Oh explained.
According to a report from the Good News Network, the Promise Clinic has already since as many as 600 patients since it started in 2005. In the last two years, its students had also raised more than $30,000 to help cover for patients’ medical expenses. “It’s a rare opportunity for students to care for a specific patient in a very personal way. I have seen student doctors spend hours arguing with pharmacological companies to lower the cost of medicine or advocate for patients with charity care,” Oh remarked.
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