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QLIMG Delivers Highest Quality Patient - Centered Primary & Specialty Medical Care
Featured in Health Wise Fall 2007 Issue
WITH 22 MEDICAL OFFICES THROUGHOUT QUEENS, NASSAU COUNTY AND SUFFOLK COUNTY, THE QUEENS-LONG ISLAND MEDICAL GROUP (QLIMG), WHICH BOASTS BEING “THE LARGEST PHYSICIAN-OWNED AND OPERATED MEDICAL PRACTICE GROUP IN THE TRI-STATE AREA,” HAS MADE A COMMITMENT TO KEEPING THE COMMUNITY HEALTHY, IN PART ACCOMPLISHING THIS THROUGH ITS USE OF ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY.
“Our mission as a healthcare service provider is to continually deliver the highest standard of patient-centered primary and specialty care in a friendly, professional environment. We offer superior, all-inclusive care with in-office diagnostics, x-ray
capability and lab work, and our commitment incorporates leadingedge technologies that offer the most innovative treatment options,” QLIMG’s website states. “Our physicians are committed to providing continuity of care through on going partnership and management, thereby ensuring the most appropriate care. At QLIMG, we value every individual patient relationship; this is why more than 200,000
people entrust their healthcare to our physicians.”
The individual groups of QLIMG have been around since the late 1960s when they were formerly HIP medical offices. They came together as one group in 1991 and have since been owned privately by the physicians. They were brought together in order to better coordinate care and increase efficiency. It also enables them to use
the benefits of one region to help another region.
QLIMG President and CEO Dr. Nicholas Vogiatzis said that the philosophy behind the organization is to be a premier medical group of choice for patients while providing world-class health care to the members of the community.
There is a wide variety of healthcare services provided by QLIMG, which has about 300 physicians and treats people of all ages. They are adult medicine, allergy/immunology, ancillary services, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, family health, gastroenterology, general medicine, geriatric medicine, hand surgery,
hematology, infectious disease, internal medicine, nephrology, neurology, nutrition, OB-GYN, occupational therapy, oncology, ophthalmology/optometry, orthopedics, otolaryngology, pain management, pathology, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric neurology, pediatrics, physical therapy, plastic surgery, podiatry, psychologist services, pulmonary medicine, radiology, rheumatology, social worker, speech therapy, surgery, urology and vascular surgery. QLIMG also has specialized women’s health centers and pediatrics offices.
QLIMG serves an average of 200,000 patients every year. In 2006, they had about 1.5 million visits and provided a total of about 2.3 million procedures.
One way in which QLIMG is able to provide its patients with the best possible care is through the use of state-of-the-art technology. Over the course of the last three years, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Auer explained that they have been phasing in Allscripts TouchWorks electronic medical records system. By doing so, they became one of the first medical groups in New York State to begin using a secure electronic medical records system.
The new system allows physicians to access patients’ records from any site and share it with consulting physicians. They can see laboratory results using it or submit prescription information to pharmacists. Auer said that it also eliminates errors that can be made due to illegible handwriting.
“Basically we’ve improved our technology to the level of hospital care within the medical offices,” Vogiatzis said, adding that implementing it has been one of the group’s proudest accomplishments. He continued, “I think this is an indication that our group will be around for a long time and will continue to grow, because of our ongoing commitment to improving the quality and level of care we provide as well as keeping pace with evolving medical technologies and embracing new concepts toward the advancement of a more efficient healthcare delivery system.”
Auer added that the EMR system “enhances all of the communication when delivering care to a patient, it decreases the potential error in handwriting issues, allows ready access to clinical information by all the providers at any given time, thereby ensuring continuity and accuracy of care.”
Throughout its years of serving members of the community, Vogiatzis said that most of QLIMG’s growth has involved technology, which has resulted in better access to information and improvements in patient satisfaction. He added that they are in the process of working on a digitalized radiology system and a patient portal system that would enable patients to access their own records via the internet, which would give them a more active role in their own health care. Auer said that through the patient portal they would eventually even be able to make appointments and have electronic visits for minor problems. They hope to launch the program early on in 2008.
When it comes to the QLIMG’s doctors, Vogiatzis said that they employ physicians of the highest quality. They come from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and speak many different languages, which he said gives the community a level of comfort. Auer said that their “medical offices reflect the ethnic complexion of the community.” Their offices also offer various translation services in order to better meet the needs of patients and communicate with them. “We hire for the kinds of communities that we’re working in,” Auer said.
Vogiatzis also said that QLIMG’s geography also sets it apart from other medical groups. He explained that it enables them to provide care throughout Queens and Long Island while providing coordinated care for entire families. Each office is accessible to the others and the physicians all work with one another. Auer said that having so many offices throughout the three counties also makes it easier for patients who move to be able to stay within the QLIMG health system.
Queens-Long Island Medical Group has 22 offices within its organization. There are offices located in Astoria, Babylon, Elmhurst, Flushing, Forest Hills, Hempstead, Hicksville, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, Queens Village, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Rochdale, Far Rockaway, Lake Ronkonkoma, Valley Stream, and Woodbury.
At their medical offices, QLIMG is able to do a great deal of on-site tests. This includes lab work, mammograms, bone density tests, sonograms and
other diagnostic tests.
Another important aspect of the work that the Queens-Long Island Medical Group is doing is being proactive about healthcare and conducting community outreach in various ways, including assisting with chronic disease management. Along with holding their own health fairs and participating in others, they do many preventative care programs. One such program has identified patients with diabetes and works with them to understand blood sugar levels ensuring that they are managing their illness with a physician and giving them education tools.
Other programs address the needs of those with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hypertension. The group also have special outreach for their frail, elderly population, which is patients who are older than 80 and have multiple health issues. Vogiatzis said that they have a database to keep track of patients in certain groups so that they can better reach out to them about their medical needs and get them no a track of coordinated care.
QLIMG, which describes itself as using a patient-centered model, works with patients to understand their needs while also giving them important information. It has also formed partnerships with the American Diabetes Association to conduct educational programs.
During the month of October, which is Breast Health Awareness Month, QLIMG will be kicking off a breast self-awareness program. Through drives and mailings, they will get in touch with patients to ensure that they are getting the mammography they need. They will also be making screenings available to women and will provide information to teach them about doing self-exams.
Also beginning in October, there will be a flu campaign during the upcoming flu season. Although QLIMG will be specifically reaching out to those who need the vaccine the most, Auer said that, as a rule, it is good for everyone to get a flu shot. He said that it can be particularly helpful for everyone living in a household with someone who is chronically ill.
QLIMG is constantly looking into what the needs of the community are so that they can put together programs that will be beneficial to them.
Vogiatzis said that a major factor in the group’s success in their dedication to patients and their well-being.
“I think it’s just an attitude that we have that we know it’s important to
keep patients healthy and be available to them,” he said.
Auer said that, along with its use of technology, the success can also be attributed to QLIMG being a comprehensive organization that has the ability to meet virtually all of a patient’s needs. He said that there are very few things that they have to go outside of the system for.
If a patient does need to leave their system for something, it has an affiliation with the North Shore-LIJ Health System to ensure that “patients receive the highest standard of care when hospitalization is required.” The North Shore-LIJ Health System includes 15 hospitals, a children’s hospital, psychiatric facility, medical research institute, hospice and home care
services, among others.
QLIMG also employs “hospitalists,” who oversee in-hospital care and work
with primary care doctors.
Along with all of the many services provided at QLIMG’s 22 offices, they also have four offices that serve as Urgent Care Centers “that are fully staffed and ready for you when you need us most.” They are located at the Elmhurst Medical Office, Valley Stream Medical Office, Hicksville Medical Office and Ronkonkoma Medical Office.
“These facilities are designed to take the place of hospital emergency rooms
for serious non-life-threatening issues like high fevers, asthma symptoms,
fractures and other injuries,” the website explains.
Most major insurances are accepted by QLIMG, and a list of 41 of them can be accessed on their website.
As QLIMG looks to the future, Vogiatzis said that their goal is to continue
to improve patient satisfaction, reach out to the community and make an
impact in the neighborhoods they serve.
“We’re hoping that we continue to do an excellent job in Queens and Long
Island,” he said. He also said that, for him personally, the most rewarding part
of his work has been as a practicing physician in the Richmond Hill community he has seen the many changes in this community and has adapted to it. “With each community there are diverse populations that shift rapidly and as a physician you have to be adaptive. It is imperative to be culturally sensitive and understanding –to treat a patient effectively they have to trust you.”
Auer also said that QLIMG wants to keep growing and expanding their providers while best meeting the needs of those they serve.
“Our future goal is to continue to size ourselves in a way that meets the needs of our community and hire the kinds of physicians that we need going into the future,” Auer said.
For more information on the Queens-Long Island Medical Group, its services or to locate an office in your area, visit www.qlimg.com or call 1-877-75Q-LIMG (1-877-757-5464).
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