By Leng Tang-Ritchie, DAOM
Even an ancient medicine can benefit from modern innovation! The clinics at Pacific College of Health and Science are setting the foundations for further growth and transformations in 2022 and onward. From upgrading our record-keeping system to developing interprofessional collaboration opportunities, as well as increasing awareness and education on healthcare disparities, we are so excited by the changes we envision for our wellness centers.
Electronic Healthcare Records System
Jumping into the digital age, Pacific College launched our new electronic health records (EHR) system, NexusClinical, at our Chicago campus during the fall of 2021. We will be introducing the EHR system in San Diego and New York during the summer of this year. This rollout will include both permanent computer stations and limited tablets for interns to use. In addition to electronic charting, NexusClinical is also a patient management system where patients are provided an individual patient portal through which they can request appointments. HIPAA-compliant messages and treatment follow-ups can be sent securely and directly from the providing interns and clinical faculty. NexusClinical also includes an herbal inventory and prescription management. We cannot wait for Pacific College to convert to completely electronic records! The EHR system will provide groundwork for the College to start accepting health insurance and outcome measurements for future research projects.
Holistic Wellness Centers
Another focus for 2022 will be on collaborative clinics. We are growing our onsite clinics into holistic wellness centers. With that, we are excited to be adding nurse practitioners and health coaching to our menu of services. The nurse practitioners will be able to provide wellness checks and general non-emergent care, while our health coaches can be our patients’ accountability partners and help them navigate the individual health plans set by their providers. Our wellness centers will be rooted in holistic medicine while providing progressive integrative care.
Integrative Grand Rounds
Our sights are also set on increasing collaboration with healthcare systems outside of Pacific College. In working with the UC San Diego healthcare system’s Center for Integrative Health (UCSD CIH) and UC San Diego School of Medicine, Pacific College students from all programs and all three campuses will be able to participate in their monthly integrative grand rounds. The team of presenters and topics will vary each month from the diverse fields of providers at the UCSD CIH. This includes integrative medicine physicians, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, doctors of osteopathic medicine, nutritionists, nurses, massage therapists, health coaches, and mindfulness cultivators. In San Diego, we will be embarking on a new type of practitioner shift, the integrative medical resident shift, where our students will be directly interacting with UCSD medical residents in treating the same patients. The goal is to teach one another about our respective medicines and share mutual successes. What’s better for our ancient medicine than to let it shine in the most modern medical facilities!
Medical Services Accessible to All
Here at Pacific College, we believe that it is vitally important for medical services be accessible to all. With the complexities of healthcare disparities, the clinical team will be using a multi-pronged approach to eliminating disparities in care, access to outcome measures, and clinical education. In 2022, the clinical department is planning on creating a Health Equity subcommittee with the various stakeholders on campus. The goal is to review the clinic manual and clinical education/classes to see where there may be gaps and areas of opportunity in relation to health difference based on racial or ethnic groups, religion, gender spectrum, sexual orientation, cognitive, sensory or physical disability, size and weight, socioeconomic status, and any other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion. We believe all patients deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, regardless of race, gender, disability, or religious beliefs. We are planning educational events such as Lunch and Learn meetings to learn more about how to interview, assess, and design treatments for patients in all segments of the population. In addition, we are working on increasing our off-site clinics with an emphasis on clinic opportunities in underserved communities. In the beginning of this year, we have added the New York Harm Reduction Educators offsite to provide holistic services to underserved communities in Harlem. We are actively seeking clinical partners to place our students in interprofessional settings with these underserved and important populations.
Like the transformation and transmutation of yin and yang, we will be educating others on our ancient philosophy while incorporating new technology, looking internally at our own practices while collaborating with external sources, and gracefully surfing the waves of change while staying grounded in our history. We here in the clinical department are so excited for our growth in 2022!
Dr. Leng Tang-Ritchie, DAOM, received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego, and her Master’s of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) and post-graduate Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) from the Pacific College of Health and Science. After serving for many years at the College as full-time faculty member, teaching in the Herbology, Acupuncture, and Oriental Medicine departments, and directing the San Diego campus’ clinic (as well as all off-site clinics, including the prestigious UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine and Rady’s Children Hospital acupuncture services), she was promoted to Vice President of Clinical Education and Operations. Specific emphasis is placed on integrated clinical development and includes all affiliate relationships, including for Pacific College’s holistic nursing division. Dr. Tang-Ritchie maintains a private practice in San Diego.