Integrated Independent Physicians Network, LLC (the IP Network), an organization of more than 1,100 independent physicians and other healthcare providers in Central Florida, has signed a letter of intent to partner with the UCF College of Medicine to improve patient care by sharing resources such as Health IT, clinical best practices and collaborative research efforts.

The IP network includes physicians with multiple specialties who wish to improve healthcare while remaining independent from ownership by large companies such as hospitals. IP Network officials said their partnership with UCF will help provide care that is more clinically integrated and affordable.

As the nation seeks to reform healthcare and lower costs, insurers and other payers are looking at new reimbursement models that pay doctors based on the quality of their care rather than the number of patient visits. As part of that effort, the College of Medicine’s Regional Extension Center (now named HealthARCH) is working with the IP Network to help its physicians obtain Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) recognition status. Such national designation recognizes improved patient communication, care access and quality outcomes and makes physicians eligible for higher reimbursement from both private and government payers.

The partnership with UCF will make possible other collaboration in areas such as shared telemedicine services, more seamless communication between doctors, population health studies, group contracting with payers, medical staff training and sharing of operational and business best practices. The two organizations also will explore creating clinical centers of excellence in areas of high community need.

“Our goal is to improve care for patients in our community while helping independent physicians in our community better respond to a changing healthcare landscape,” said Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UCF College of Medicine. “This is a win-win for the health of our community.”

Dr. George White, president of the IP Network and an Orlando hand surgeon, highlighted the organization’s shared goals with UCF for improving the quality and affordability of care. “Our goal is to develop innovative, collaborative, high-quality, patient-centered care that is cost conscious and incorporates medical education and research,” he said. Larry Jones, director of the IP network said “We are dedicated to developing a complete healthcare delivery system that can be a model of physician-driven, patient-friendly care across the community, state and nation.”

The IP Network partnership will be developed with UCF Academic Health, a direct support organization for the university.  UCF Academic Health and Hospital Corporation of America are seeking to build a UCF teaching hospital on the College of Medicine campus in Lake Nona. The goal of the hospital is to provide needed medical care to the booming Medical City area while increasing clinically-based research and medical education in the community. The IP Network is providing a letter of support for UCF Academic Health’s hospital plan, saying it will also provide physicians and patients with another option in care and serve as a living lab for improved in-patient and out-patient care and the transitions in between.

German said such partnership is the key to encouraging the health and well-being of all.

“The best, most efficient care happens when groups of healthcare professionals work together for the good of the patient,” she said. “Isolation doesn’t serve anyone’s health.”