August 28, 2012
Kaiser Health News reports that improving quality and lowering costs are driving a new Mayo Clinic strategy aimed at helping hospitals and physician groups work together more effectively. In the past year, the Mayo Clinic introduced the Mayo Clinic Care Network, which provides affiliated physicians with the ability to consult with Mayo specialists about patients with difficult conditions or challenging diagnoses. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic provides access to an electronic database that includes “‘care pathways’” which detail exactly the steps that should be taken when treating patients with certain medical conditions.
This network helped a new mother from Grand Forks, ND, who had suffered a severe injury after three hours of difficult labor. The physician had never seen an injury like hers and was unable to find similar examples in medical literature. He was able to call on the experts at the Mayo Clinic for an electronic consult who told him about a similar patient and how she was helped. The treatment helped the mother recover in three weeks by empowering the physician to address her injury effectively.
The Affordable Care Act has accelerated changes in the ways many health systems and physician practices provide care. Mayo spokespeople insist that the desire to bend the cost curve and improve quality is driving these changes.
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease applauds Mayo Clinic’s success and continued innovation and use of technology in improving health. These efforts demonstrate that focusing on health improvements can both lower costs and enhance the quality of care.