Developed by Alaska’s Southcentral Foundation, the Nuka System of Care (“Nuka”) is recognized as one of the world’s leading models of health care redesign. It is also the name given to Southcentral Foundation’s whole health care system, which provides medical, dental, behavioral, traditional and health care support services to more than 65,000 Alaska Native people.
Nuka is built upon the simple, yet revolutionary belief that the relationship between the primary care team and the patient (known as the customer-owner) is the single most important tool in managing chronic disease, controlling health care costs, and improving the overall wellness of a population. Recognizing that individuals are ultimately in control of their own lifestyle choices and health care decisions, Nuka focuses on understanding each customer-owner’s unique story, values and influencers in an effort to engage them in their care and support long-term behavior change.
The focus on relationships extends beyond health care delivery. To ensure whole system transformation, each key work system was redesigned – including workforce development, compliance, human resources and finance – to ingrain an organization-wide focus on relationship-building and shared decision-making.