Hospitals collaborate to improve the patient experience

More hospitals and health systems create cooperative networks involving doctors, providers, patients and payers, or "ecosystems of care," according to Healthcare Finance News.

Although the ecosystems, run correctly, mean increased cost savings and efficiency, organizations develop them with the goal of improving the patient experience, according to Amy Cueva, founder of design agency MadPow.

"We are doing research to understand the real needs of the patient," Cueva told Healthcare Finance News. "What are they facing and what is their health journey? What are their obstacles? What are their struggles? With that information we work with the businesses to figure out how to better deliver care to the people that they serve."

For example, in Maryland, five health systems with 10 hospitals between them announced plans in February to form the Advanced Health Collaborative in a deal that was distinct from a merger. And in Iowa, providers have implemented the concept on a much larger scale with the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. The collaborative considers all hospitals and physicians in the state as de facto members, Tom Evans, president and CEO of the collaborative, said in the article.

"It's based on the premise of the healthcare stakeholders--provider, patient, payer and purchaser--we really believe that the provider community should be proactively working to improve care," he told Healthcare Finance News. "We have cornerstones for our collaborative, which are basically to align and equip providers with performance improvement, to use data to affect change, and then to raise the standard of care across our state."

The current healthcare system is unsustainable and makes the need for ecosystems clear, he said. To continue providing services within that system, he said, providers must improve quality and value in proactive, rather than reactive, ways, while continuing to spearhead new care models. A collaborative of healthcare leaders proposed a new set of principles last week to achieve these care goals, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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