Southcentral Foundation

Nuka: A Relationship-based Model for Achieving Sustainable Healthcare

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Project Summary

The purpose of this 5-year grant proposal, known as the Nuka Project, is to implement a replicable, sustainable model of Southcentral Foundation’s (SCF’s) award winning Nuka System of Care to other Healthcare systems worldwide who are facing challenges concerning quality and value of care, along with patient and provider satisfaction with the system. SCF’s Nuka System of Care has had a tremendously positive impact on the Alaska Native community. By actively engaging with our partners CAREOregon and the Matawhaanui Trust to transform and enhance their healthcare systems with the Nuka relationship-based model, the Nuka Project will have created an impactful, replicable healthcare model ready for implementation in indigenous and other communities worldwide. By managing their own relationship-based healthcare system that respects culture and dignity, the durability and sustainability of these healthcare system improvements will lead to increased community satisfaction and improved health outcomes for the people they serve.

Problem Statement

Healthcare systems around the world are facing challenges related to quality of care, value of care provided, and patient and provider satisfaction with the system. This problem has the potential to impact everyone, but it has the most impact on patients who utilize the healthcare system the most (usually those who have complex health needs), as well as those in medically underserved communities (which are often socially and economically disadvantaged compared to other communities).This problem exists because many healthcare organizations remain wedded to older, more “traditional” ways of approaching the practice of healthcare. Models from decades ago, where the patient is a mostly passive participant in the process who is told what to do by physicians and other healthcare professionals, are simply not adequate in the rapidly changing environments many healthcare organizations operate in. Much better outcomes can be achieved by systems that focus on helping patients achieve overall wellness, rather than simply treating problems as they arise.Broad changes in healthcare policy at a national level are difficult to achieve, however changes to community-based healthcare systems can have a tremendous positive impact for the populations they serve. The problem is that implementing the necessary changes can be difficult. When healthcare systems have another healthcare organization to work with that has already undertaken major reform efforts and made the transition to value-based care that improves quality and patient and provider satisfaction, the task of reforming the system to better serve their communities becomes much easier to achieve.

Solution Overview

SCF’s solution addresses the problem by working with other healthcare organizations to implement changes and improvements based on lessons from SCF’s Nuka System of Care (Nuka). Nuka has resulted in an increase in the quality and value of healthcare for the people SCF serves, as well as increased customer and provider satisfaction. By implementing changes based on lessons from Nuka, other healthcare organizations can realize these same improvements. We will know that we are making progress by measuring selected health outcomes in the targeted communities, and by analyzing feedback from customers and employees at the targeted healthcare organizations.Our solution will have a major positive impact on the targeted communities through improvements to the healthcare systems serving them, because Nuka has had a tremendous positive impact on the Alaska Native community SCF serves. Also, by engaging the targeted communities as active partners in their care, this will ensure sustainability of improvements after the end of the grant period. Our solution will lead to improved health outcomes in the targeted communities and increase community satisfaction with the healthcare system.While everyone in the targeted communities will benefit from our solution through improved health and wellness, we anticipate that the greatest benefit will be seen by people with complex health needs, as they are often the highest users of the healthcare system. Socially and/or economically disadvantaged people who may not have had their needs fully met previously by the healthcare system, will also benefit.

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Project Funders

  • Rasmuson Foundation 2014 - 2017
  • MJ Murdock Foundation 2015 - 2017
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2013 - 2015

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