Innova Primary Care: Leading The Way In Patient-Centered Health Care

“Providing quality medical care is about more than prescribing medications and performing procedures,” explained Brooke Uptagrafft, Medical Director of Innova Primary Care. “It’s about making patients feel valued and going much deeper than what society considers to be the standard for primary health care.”

With the dream of leading the way in patient-centered medical care, Dr. Brooke Uptagrafft and husband David Uptagrafft have relocated Innova Primary Care to a newly renovated building on Chateau Drive in the heart of Huntsville.

“We were out of room at our previous location,” said David Uptagrafft, Director of Operations. “We have a lot of plans down the road for offering more services, and this space gives us the ability to do just that.”

The new facility will allow the practice to focus on the needs of individual patients through faster service, increased one-on-one time, health coaching, and more.

Brooke and David also shared some exciting news. Innova is now an officially recognized PCMH (Patient-Centered Medical Home) Level 3 practice.

“The PCMH recognition is pretty unique to the Huntsville area,” said David. “This recognition points to our ability to provide the highest quality care while reducing costs, improving patient-staff relationships, and putting patients at the forefront of importance. It’s a reform in health care delivery that supports the shift to value-based care.”

But the pursuit of creating a better primary care experience in Huntsville began earlier in 2011 when Brooke and David moved back to the area and Dr. Brooke accepted a position at a local practice.

A Brief History of Innova

After Brooke completed her residency, the couple decided to return to Huntsville—their hometown—in order to be closer to family. After looking at practices in and around the area, they were contacted by Dr. Tim Howard and Dr. Michael Carter for an interview. In October 2011, Dr. Brooke joined Gleneagles Family Medicine.

“It was a wonderful place to start,” said Brooke. “In 2013, Dr. Howard decided to retire. So that meant there was another influx of patients. We experienced rapid growth from then on and officially launched the BrookeMD Primary Care brand in 2016.”

After several conversations, Dr. Carter and BrookeMD decided to officially divide the practices. The team successfully shared the space at Gleneagles Drive for a year. But as BrookeMD continued to grow, the need for additional space could not be ignored.

“We looked at all kinds of options,” remarked Brooke. “But when we found this building, we knew it was what we needed. So, we purchased it and began remodeling.”

In January 2017, BrookeMD Primary Care rebranded itself to Innova Primary Care to represent a team-based mentality and rebirth at its new location.

An Innovative Space

“This new space means patients are going to be getting back to rooms even faster,” said Brooke. “We already have short wait times, but this change means we will have more space to place guests into a room, freeing up providers to spend more time with patients without feeling time crunched.” She also said the space would make more services possible later this year.

“We have added a Care Coordinator to the team, and a Health Coach is coming later in the fall,” she said. “We will be doing a lot of patient education right in the exam rooms without having to schedule them to come back at a later date or call them on the phone.”

As a primary care facility, the space had to serve many functions—one of which was enabling a comfortable space for staff and providers to have conversations with their patients.

“The functionality and form of the space were vital in our effort to make care more personalized and emotionally safe for our guests,” said David. “We didn’t want our facility to be intimidating or dehumanizing, we wanted to create something that would encourage and empower patients to be an active voice in their healthcare.”

At Innova, every exam room is equipped with comfortable chairs and a cafe table where patients can view their medical records on the computer monitor with their provider.

Image courtesy of Innova Primary Care.

In addition to more spacious and functional exam rooms, the new facility also features consultation rooms that serve as a safe space for patients and staff to discuss any health concerns or have new patient orientations. David also mentioned the importance of technology within the new facility that makes operations run smoother.

“Technology is a big component of what we do,” he said. “The model for health care is changing rapidly, and we provide our patients with tools that make the process of receiving quality care much easier.”

Patient Empowerment Through Technology

In 2014, Innova made Healow—a health and online wellness app—available to patients, allowing clients to book appointments, check in, view lab records, medications, and more. The app is also password protected for enhanced privacy.

“We want our patients engaged,” said Brooke. “Healow is one way to accomplish that. A large number of our patients utilize it, and we continue to see steady growth in its use.” With the expectations for quality medical care shifting, Innova strives to advocate positive change through patient empowerment tools. This includes the adoption of state-of-the-art technology.

“We have more exciting news regarding our technology at Innova,” teased David. “Stay tuned for future announcements when we share more about an exciting partnership.”

A Passion to Make Patients Feel Valued

Brooke and David carry something into the practice each day that’s worth much more than a functional new building or high-tech medical tools. They have a desire to make everyone involved with Innova feel important and cared for.

“I believe that the world is a broken place,” Brooke urged. “I feel that I am here, and have been given the skills and the experience to try and make the world a little less broken.”

“For some people, Innova is the place they go to feel valued. When they walk out the door, they may not feel it anymore. But when they are at our practice, I want to give them a little piece of that. At Innova, you are cared for—mind, body, and soul.”

To learn more about Innova Primary Care, visit https://innovaprimarycare.com. You can also follow them on Facebook.

For media inquiries or questions about the new location, contact Innova Primary Care Public Relations Coordinator, Morgan Boone, at morgan.boone@myinnovacare.com.

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HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

5 Things To Consider When Leasing Medical Office Space

When it comes to negotiating a lease for medical office space, several unique factors play into identifying the appropriate property. Working with hazardous materials, complying with HIPAA, easy access, and convenient parking—all of these things should be considered when looking at a potential medical facility.

Having experienced counsel on your side can help identify key issues in the lease that make a difference down the road. Eric St. John, Broker at Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate, has brokered various medical office negotiations and has outlined some of the major factors that play into finding the ideal space for medical use.

“There are many differences between a general office space lease and a medical space lease,” said Eric. “You have to look at everything from the flow of the space to determining what specific pieces of equipment will be used in it. While every deal is unique, there are a few major questions that always need thoughtful answers. And it’s up to the tenant to understand what those are to ensure an effective practice.”

So, here they are—five things to consider when leasing medical office space:

1) Does the space work with your needs?

This may seem like an obvious question, but taking note of certain factors will help you come up with more concrete answers. Close your eyes and imagine the space at your current family doctor’s office. Are the exam rooms far away from the waiting area? Does the space allow the staff to be productive and efficient? All of these things play into proper flow within a space.

“The first thing many medical tenants look at when it comes to location is the space’s proximity to the major hospital system they are affiliated with,” said Eric. “From there, things like the flow of a space and accessibility are at the forefront of decision making.”

Making sure your location is easily accessible for your patient base—including those with limited mobility—is something that should be deliberated. Know what major roadways and paths your patients will take to get to your building, and make sure it’s an easy one.

 2) How will you handle the disposal of hazardous waste/materials?

Medical office spaces often house materials that are a biohazard. With general office spaces, most leases prohibit the introduction of any hazardous wastes on the property. This is not the case with medical leases. Instead, the lease should provide well-defined guidance as to who will be responsible for the removal of such wastes. Liability for this issue shouldn’t be ignored.

“Most leases address the guidelines for hazardous materials,” said Eric. “The tenant is usually responsible for the handling and disposal of such waste.”

It may be just a few sentences within the lease that save you from any future trouble. Have confidence that the materials are stored and disposed of properly. Make sure the lease is crystal clear on how it will be executed, as well as who will be granted access to those materials.

3) What will you do to ensure HIPAA compliance?

While every office space is sure to contain some form of confidential documents, medical spaces are required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The laws outlined by HIPAA vastly affect the functionality and accessibility of medical office spaces.

“It’s important to include information in the lease that outlines the landlord’s access to the space,” said Eric. “Usually, landlords are required to provide a certain notice before entering, unless there is an emergency. Leases can also outline the restriction of certain areas at certain times.”

4) Will you need to accommodate special equipment/procedures?

Special equipment requires specialized accommodations. Because many machines need their own rooms, generate extra heat or require specific insulation, these terms need to be outlined in the lease. Completing your homework beforehand will ensure that utility services are able to accommodate any additional needs.

“You’ll notice that not every practice has an X-ray machine,” said Eric. “These types of machines need shielded rooms lined with lead or other materials to operate—something that may not be readily available in certain spaces. Knowing what equipment or procedures the physician plans on offering certainly affects the deal, what type of space they need, and the negotiation as a whole.”

5) Who are your neighbors?

Many medical doctors seek spaces that include other primary care and internal medicine specialists because it allows for a “built-in referral system.” Rather than sending your patient across the city to follow up on a matter, doctors can send them to another office within the building, cutting down on confusion and adding convenience for the patient.

“Knowing who is in the building with you is important,” said Eric. “Because their business can affect your business.”

Thinking ahead.

At Crunkleton, we do our best to help clients find the medical office space that fits their needs. By paying attention to the diverse needs of medical tenants, anticipating future trends, and connecting with clients, we create a relationship that aims to meet the unique needs of medical office lessees.

“We do our best to understand the medical business to make sure clients get what they need,” said Eric. “Our job is to read between the lines and make sure they are taken care of in any situation. It’s always rewarding when we are able to negotiate a lease that benefits both the landlord, the tenant, and the public who needs exceptional medical care.”

To learn more about how Crunkleton can help you with your medical office leasing needs, contact Eric St. John at eric@crunkletonassociates.com.

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HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM