When you entrust your health to the medical professionals within the Sutter Health network, we hold ourselves accountable for your experience. Across our extensive network, we're sharing best practices, collaborating with each other and working closely with patients and their families to help ensure that their care and treatment is personalized to their needs. In addition, by continually assessing and improving upon our services, we're maintaining a high quality of care while keeping overall costs downand that means greater value for the communities we serve.
In 2011, Sutter Health established a patient-centered medical home team in Davis, within a busy family practice office. In a patient-centered medical home, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, case managers and other medical staff work together to anticipate patients' needs, coordinate medical services and facilitate follow-up care.
To help lower patients' pharmacy costs, doctors within our network prescribe generic drugs whenever possible. As a result, prescription drug costs across our network dropped by more than $8 million in 2011. Lower medication costs may also encourage patients to fill their monthly prescriptions as prescribed, leading to better medication compliance for chronic health conditions, improved health and lower medical bills overall.
Sutter Health's Advanced Illness Management (AIM) program received national recognition in the March 2011 issue of Health Affairs for easing challenges for patients at the end of their life. By sensitively accommodating patients' end-of-life wishes and improving their quality of life, AIM helped keep its enrolled patients out of the hospital and at home with loved ones.
Across our network, we launched and expanded programs to provide personalized support to patients living with chronic illnesses, such as heart failure, diabetes and asthma. By partnering with patients to manage their condition, we help them avoid costly emergency room visits and reduce their number of hospital stays.
Behind the scenes at our medical offices, we're redesigning everything from appointment scheduling to medical advice phone lines to better serve patients. Many patients can now conveniently schedule primary care appointments online.
We partner with our patients to help them get the vaccines and health screenings their doctors recommend. Patients receive emails through My Health Online to remind them to schedule certain preventive services. In some communities, patients receive a personal phone call reminding them to schedule breast cancer and colon cancer screenings. For their convenience, patients can find a complete list of recommended health screenings and immunizations on My Health Online.
Sutter-affiliated California Pacific Medical Center is participating with Brown and Toland Physicians and Blue Shield of California in a shared-savings accountable care initiative. This is designed to provide integrated, high-value health care to more than 21,000 HMO members of the San Francisco Health Service System, which consists of the employees and retirees of the City and County of San Francisco.