The MAVEN Project

Connecting volunteer physicians with providers treating vulnerable patients through technology

Health care access

The MAVEN Project uses telehealth technology to connect physician volunteers with providers serving vulnerable patients, expanding their skills, improving health outcomes, and quality of care.

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Lead Organization

The MAVEN Project

San Francisco, California, United States

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Access to care for chronic conditions is inaccessible for 100 million un/underinsured Americans. Even some patients with “good” insurance find premiums or copays too high and must also rely on community health centers – safety net clinics staffed by primary care providers (PCPs): nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and doctors, who lack specialty training. The MAVEN Project (Medical Alumni Volunteer Expert Network) uses telehealth technology to connect physician volunteers with PCPs, passing along their experience and empowering providers to better care for their patients locally. In doing so, the organization helps improve health outcomes, reduce specialist referrals, and avoid costly emergency room visits. The MAVEN Project currently partners with over 80 clinic sites caring for more than 765,000 underserved patients in nine states, with over 100 expert physicians in 42 specialties. A five-year growth plan calls for expanding the program to all 50 states, supporting more PCPs and benefiting their vulnerable

Problem Statement

Timely, affordable, high-quality health care should not be a privilege, yet this is a reality for millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans. While the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid insurance to more Americans, coverage doesn’t always confer access to care. Even patients with “good” insurance find that high deductibles put even basic health care out of reach.Compounding the problem is the fact that thousands of communities across America experience physician shortages. More than a third of physicians do not accept new Medicaid patients, and doctors are in such short supply that access to the most basic primary care is limited.These shortages will only amplify as nearly 43 percent of American physicians are over the age of 55, and The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of up to 120,000 primary care physicians by 2030. Non-physician, advanced clinical providers—nurse practitioners and physician assistants—attempt to fill the gap. Often, however, the medical problems they encounter are beyond the scope of their practice. For many of these underserved patients, the last resort is one of the nation’s 1,400 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and free clinics for basic primary care. The PCPs that staff these clinics find themselves under-resourced professionally and personally, yearning for others they can connect with for clinical advice and support in order to manage their patients well and take pride in their work.

Solution Overview

The MAVEN Project provides unparalleled expertise and flexibility by integrating consultations with education, coaching, and mentoring. This supports the primary care network and builds confidence, skill, and knowledge among the providers. The organization’s holistic approach empowers primary care providers (PCPs) to manage more complex conditions on site, allowing patients to enjoy convenient, comprehensive, and culturally competent care. Physician volunteers are eager to pass along their expertise, which has been steeped in the art and science of medicine, using readily available, HIPAA-compliant telehealth technology.Through its three core services – medical consults, provider education, and coaching/mentoring, MAVEN Project expert physician volunteers become the teachers. The PCPs absorb the information to use as part of their own clinic judgement. Many of the local providers are from the same community as their patients, allowing them to apply their new knowledge in a culturally sensitive manner, including language and religious considerations. Each contact with MAVEN Project physician volunteers results in at least a 5-fold impact beyond the single case discussed. Over time, this multiplier effect makes the clinic a true center of excellence in managing numerous chronic diseases, resulting in optimized, local care. The volunteer network is accessible in real time through an online menu. Clinic providers determine how and when to tap into the experts’ knowledge and wisdom. They can integrate the services into their workflow knowing that, when needed, advice is readily available.

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Project Funders

  • Gilead Sciences, Inc 2016

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