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11-03-2013 | Article

Academia and the private sector team up to streamline, enhance healthcare


CHS press release

medwireNews: Setting a bar to improve the quality of care and address the political hot-button issue of health cost containment, a world-famous academic medical center, the Cleveland Clinic, and one of the nation's largest hospital chains, Community Health Systems (CHS), have agreed to an extensive collaboration.

"In this period of dynamic change in healthcare, [we] recognize that collaboration is essential to developing innovative solutions that address today's complex challenges and unique opportunities," write the two organizations in a joint press release.

While the two entities will still remain independent, the arrangement allows them to gain from each other's resources and expertise for the sake of developing better hospital operations, such as clinical services, physician alignment and integration, and supply chain processes.

The collaboration will revolve around three specific areas to begin with. One of them will be concerned with the creation of a framework that will allow physicians to share best practices and exchange data that will eventually be used in predictive modeling for favorable patient outcomes and reducing the cost of care.

As a front-runner in cardiovascular procedures, the Cleveland Clinic's Heart & Vascular Institute will also analyze certain CHS-affiliated hospitals to help them to enhance the quality of their cardiovascular services and data infrastructure.

The collaboration will additionally consider other approaches that will maximize the sharing of best practices that could involve telemedicine initiatives, second opinion services for both physicians and patients, and complex care coordination.

The increasing need to control soaring health costs has initiated several collaborative moves that have put insurers together with providers while not-for-profit hospitals link up with for-profit hospitals. Yet the Cleveland Clinic and CHS alliance - a 5-year agreement - is a first in that it merges academic medicine with the private sector.

"This is innovative," said Wayne Smith, chairman, president, and CEO of Community Health Systems to ModernHealthcare. "It's different. It's long-term and it's about quality and highly improved patient experience and how we can be more productive in doing that."

"The future requires courage and teamwork," Smith added in a press release. "We are headed in the right direction to achieve meaningful enhancements in clinical quality and affordable care."

By Peter Sergo, medwireNews Reporter