Putting the Accent on the Patient in Ukraine's Primary Health Care Reform

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Dr. Oksana Lobortas, a regional trainer in Kharkiv, teaches doctors about a new classification for primary health care and how to use it to build a patient-oriented model of service.
Photo courtesy of Oksana Lobortas.

International classification training for primary care providers strengthens health reform in Ukraine

Until recently, family doctors in Ukraine had unmanageable amounts of paperwork in their day-to-day practice, and they lacked the expertise to provide patient-centered care within a short time frame. With health care reform taking root in Ukraine, Oksana Lobortas, a primary health care doctor in Kharkiv, was eager to gain needed expertise to make a patient’s first contact with the health care system more effective. “I wanted to obtain new skills in consultation and coding as soon as possible to keep up with the reforms,” she said. 

USAID’s Health Reform Support Project (HRS) understood that the doctors that joined Ukraine’s reformed primary health care system needed additional training and consultations to effectively serve their patients and spend less time on administrative tasks. In response, USAID’s HRS collaborated with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the World Bank to introduce a system of International Classification for Primary Care (ICPC), globally one of the most widely used classification systems for primary health care.

Today, this new classification and financing model is helping primary health care providers modernize infrastructure, create better working conditions, and improve the quality of services. It is equipping doctors with the knowledge and the tools to collect important patient data electronically and to make informed medical and management decisions.

Dr. Lobortas and a host of her colleagues joined the training sessions to learn the benefits of ICPC and how to use its approach to work more efficiently by reducing paper work, optimizing the work processes of primary care physicians, and fostering a patient-centered model of service provision.

Reflecting on how the training changed her view of primary health care, Dr. Lobortas said, “A family doctor is a patient’s friend who helps to take care of his or her health and the ICPS system is an important adviser to the doctor in this job.”

The course also turned 45 doctors like Dr. Lobortas into trainers who would now share their ICPC expertise with colleagues in other oblasts. “The new  skills I learned inspired me to become a regional trainer and teach over 810 family doctors on how to help their patients more effectively by using these new approaches,” she added.

Within 6 months, the training reached more than 16,000 family doctors and nurses across the country. “The interest of doctors in this new classification system is increasing and almost all of my colleagues are using it now,” Dr. Lobortas noted.

The course on the new classification for primary health care turned 45 doctors, including Dr. Oksana Lobortas into trainers who could share their ICPC expertise with colleagues in the regions.
The course on the new classification for primary health care turned 45 doctors, including Dr. Oksana Lobortas into trainers who could share their ICPC expertise with colleagues in the regions.
Photo: courtesy of the USAID Health Reform Support Project

Last updated: November 21, 2019

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