U.S. hospitals forge international ties to improve care, expand research

U.S. providers are establishing key ties overseas to better share their healthcare quality and training expertise and create alliances that improve care for patients at home and abroad.

For example, City of Hope National Medical Center, a 193-bed cancer hospital and research facility in Los Angeles, has teamed up with several cancer hospitals in China, according to an article from Healthline. Steven T. Rosen, M.D., the hospital’s provost and chief scientific officer, said City of Hope is able to share its expertise with Chinese providers and learn from their physicians as well.

“The people we have recruited in this alliance are humble, bright and talented,” he said. “The friendships have evolved quickly.”

City of Hope launched a “remote” second opinion program in conjunction with Tongji Hospital in Wuhan. U.S. doctors are not allowed to practice in China, so they don’t speak directly with patients, but doctors at Tongji will consult with City of Hope physicians to review diagnoses and share advice on treating patients with blood cancers, according to the article.

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The hospital also works with Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University in China’s Zhejiang province as part of an educational exchange in addition to offering diagnostic opinions. The success of that partnership has led City of Hope to work with a private company to oversee cancer care at a new hospital being built in Shenzhen, one of China’s biggest cities, the article noted.

It’s not just West Coast hospitals working alongside their peers in China. Massachusetts General Hospital also has a hand in building a new hospital in Shanghai, the hospital announced. Mass General has been involved in a number of projects through the development of Jiahui International Hospital; in 2015, the organization and Brigham and Women’s Hospital signed a $3 million agreement to help create a women’s health center.

Peter L. Slavin, M.D., Mass General’s president, said in the announcement that the ongoing partnership allows for many mutually educational opportunities.

“As an academic medical center we relish the opportunity to share our experience gleaned from more than two centuries of providing top-notch patient care and leading-edge research,” he said. “This relationship also affords us new learning to apply to our work in Massachusetts.”

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Demand for U.S. healthcare expertise is growing internationally, as FierceHealthcare has previously reported, with providers particularly targeting Asia and the Middle East. In addition to allowing providers to grow their brands, international partnerships can allow hospitals that treat a lot of international patients to discover better ways to care for them.