Posts (2)

Feb 12, 2014 · Integrated Care: Improving Patient Outcomes and Lowering Cost

Dr. Robert NesseIt’s often said that you get what you pay for. But when it comes to health care costs, most people would agree we’re paying far too much.

This is not a small problem. Health care costs are the leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States, and the majority of those are among people who have health insurance.

Something has to change in our country’s health care system. The challenge is that unlike many industries, you have to account for limitless inputs and outputs that vary by individual, yet you’re still targeting a certain outcome…all while trying to do it faster and for less money.

Mayo Clinic is a leader in the effort to change the health care system and improve the value of the care we deliver to you and your family.  One way we’re changing is by applying the best practice to the care we provide at all of our locations. That means you’ll receive the same high level of care whether you’re in Fairmont, Minn., Waycross, Ga., or another health system location in between. Behind the scenes, we’re working to integrate and standardize our practices. Standardization does more than improve care and efficiency — it also saves money, which means lower health care costs.

Additionally, all the players are beginning to recognize the issue and their role in it.  For example, as providers and insurance carriers look at new models, they’re finding ways to help each other deliver higher value health care.  We’re seeing that within our own system as we work with insurers.  They have helpful information on total cost of care and we have the treatment guidelines and processes to help influence that cost.  When we partner and share information we can deliver better care, and do it for less money.

The changes we’re making are designed to improve the care you receive while lowering the cost of delivering that care. We’re excited to be starting this challenging but essential work because we believe it will lead to a better health care system — and better health — for us all.

Editor’s note: Robert Nesse, M.D., is a vice-president of Mayo Clinic.

Nov 26, 2013 · Building a Network of Providers

Dr. Robert NesseHealth care is undergoing profound change. It’s hard to go a day, let alone a few hours, without hearing the good, bad and ugly of that change. Still, many people have a hard time articulating how the change benefits patients, or how providers are changing to meet the demands of tomorrow. John Noseworthy, M.D., CEO at Mayo Clinic, has focused Mayo Clinic’s energy on three imperatives to guide our organization through this change – create value, deliver knowledge and fund excellence.  By building a network of providers, Mayo Clinic has brought these imperatives to life.

We recognized the need to change our care model in the late 80s and early 90s. That’s when we opened the doors to our practices in Arizona and Florida and when we started our network of providers in the Midwest, called Mayo Clinic Health System. Possessing knowledge and expertise is great, but only if you can share it with others to help more people. The regional and national networks we have in place will serve our patients well going forward.

Enhanced critical careOver the years we deliberately acquired and developed a health care system that had like mind and mission. By the mid-2000s we had built a network of providers that covered more than three million patients and had more than 60,000 staff and 3,500 medical providers. In it we paired our  subspecialty care with community family physicians, connected them by electronic resources and worked hard to ensure they collaborated based on the needs of the patient.

We’re using tools like enhanced critical care to deliver highly specialized care to critically ill patients in communities where they are closer to their family and support network. Through it, we bring our physicians, nurses and our entire team to that patient’s bedside, 24/7.

Today we’re seeing others follow this strategy. Most days bring news of a new partnership or acquisition. Mergers are all the rage in health care right now as groups try to build their network. Networks take time to build. That’s the challenge with transformational change — it often takes a while and it’s messy in the middle. At Mayo Clinic we’re steadfast in our resolve to change but recognize that paramount to anything else is that we need to ensure change brings benefit to our patients.

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