What is this new collaboration between UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids and Mayo Clinic all about?
I'll admit, this journey started out as a competitive advantage, but
over the last year our motivation has matured and changed a hundred and
eighty degrees. We knew this collaboration would offer a clinical
advantage to our patients but what came as a pleasant additional
surprise was the value it brought to our physicians. In the end, we did
this because our physicians saw the advantage of the best of both
worlds; full utilization of local physicians and specialists, with the added value of layering on the Mayo Clinic expertise, all while keeping our patients here in Cedar Rapids. The fact that we could do this at no additional cost to the patient made it even better.
We're already seeing the results. In the first month of the
collaboration, before even half of our physicians are fully engrained on
the program, we've had fifteen eConsults go to Mayo. Satisfaction is
high on both the patient and local provider side. Our first eConsult was
in cardiology. One of our senior physicians, Dr. Todd Langager,
had a difficult diagnosis. He thought he was seeing a condition he'd
only seen four times in his thirty-plus years of practice. He thought he
knew what to do, but was hoping for confirmation before setting his
patient and family on a course that has serious implications for them
all. He gathered up his electronic notes, lab test results, the relevant
digital images and patient history. Then he sent it electronically to
Mayo. Eighteen hours later he had the eConsult result from a Mayo
physician, who is a world-renowned expert on this disease. Dr. Langager
had the correct diagnosis and was on the right track. There were a
couple additional things he could consider also doing and, oh yes, on
the AskMayoExpert website was a twenty-nine page patient education
brochure he was welcome to give the patient about her rare condition.
The family was ecstatic. They had a diagnosis. They had confidence that
the best minds in the country were dealing with her difficult condition,
and they had expert, reliable education materials in their hand within
hours to help them.
And that was just the beginning. A local cancer patient who has been
receiving care at Mayo for several years asked her Mayo physician if
with this program in Cedar Rapids, might she be able to receive her care
at home. The physician studied her record, consulted with an
independent medical oncologist in Cedar Rapids, and agreed that, yes,
she could. Now she has the best of both worlds, a Mayo level of
expertise overlaying her care right here in Cedar Rapids.
Physicians have access to more than 1,400 care protocols from
AskMayoExpert on their desktops. When their patient has a question about
their care, would like a second opinion, or just some additional peace
of mind, the physician can pull up the protocol right in the exam room
and say, "Here's how Mayo would treat this".
And Mayo's not being passive. Twice already physicians have queried
the AskMayoExpert for information on a condition where there was not a
published protocol. Mayo staff called within hours to say "We saw that
you had an unsuccessful search on AskMayoExpert, what were you looking
for?" In both cases Mayo proactively went to their physicians and
provided additional information and guidance.
We have wonderful physicians here in Cedar Rapids. We have strong
primary care, excellent specialists and we have the University of Iowa
just down the road for cases that will need their level of services. Now
we have something to add to even these resources for our community.
This model fits our culture. It's about disseminating knowledge so
patients can receive more care closer to home. It's about preserving and
honoring local physicians' care and enhancing them versus trying to
So far Care Network members are seeing that roughly four out of five
people who historically may have gone to a Mayo site can be taken care
of at home. That's good for us and our patients. Getting through the
year-long due diligence process to be selected to the Network was a
challenge, but one UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids gladly accepted.
When we recently attended the Network's annual meeting we met folks from
around the country, from all kinds of organizations large and small,
from academic medical centers to stand alone community hospitals. What
the Mayo folks said was our single common denominator was the quality of
care we all already give. They weren't going to put their name on
Sounds like a good "why" to me.