DHMC partners with Mayo Clinic
By Sharla Grass, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, August 3, 2012
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is the newest member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a network of seven hospitals, according to David Hayes, medical director for the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Membership in the network will allow DHMC to offer electronic consultations and share best practices with other member institutions, DHMC CEO and President of James Weinstein said.
Doctors at DHMC have been working with the Mayo Clinic in different capacities since 1927, and a formal partnership made sense, Weinstein said. As health care evolves, the best health systems have moved from the local to the regional and national levels, he said.
“The Mayo Clinic has been an incredibly efficient and effective health care system for many decades,” Weinstein said. “The best way to work with them was to partner with them. They felt that we were really good at understanding how to analyze data and look at patient populations.”
DHMC will continue to operate as an independent hospital while increasing collaboration between physicians at the two hospitals and gaining access to new resources, according to Weinstein.
The network’s hospitals will offer electronic consultations through which patients and physicians can receive second opinions electronically from physicians at other hospitals, Hayes said. Patient information is uploaded privately and can be accessed and evaluated by specialists, he said.
Neurology and cardiovascular disease patients will be the first to see a benefit from receiving second opinions on diagnoses through electronic communication, Weinstein said.
The network also allows hospitals to collaborate in order to improve their quality, safety and professionalism, he said.
“It’s about sharing knowledge and processes about best practices,” Hayes said. “Issues the Mayo Clinic has faced are usually the same issues other organizations have faced.”
The care network was established 14 months ago with the purpose of connecting organizations that share similar philosophies, Hayes said. DHMC’s membership in the network was announced July 27.
“We look for organizations that are culturally similar, share the same philosophies about health care and institutions where providing quality care at a good value and organizations where the needs of the patients come first,” Hayes said.
DHMC was chosen as the seventh hospital in the network largely because Mayo Clinic had ongoing initiatives with DHMC and because both hospitals value patient-centered care, according to Hayes.
“They were a natural fit,” he said.
In the future, the network’s hospitals hope to expand electronic consultations to include video consultation that will allow patients to be interviewed and examined by remote physicians, Hayes said.
Promoting teamwork among different professionals within the oncology field is a main goal, according to Hayes. The creation of “electronic tumor boards” will allow physicians to connect virtually with other specialists to provide a “multidisciplinary approach” and access to multiple opinions, Hayes said.
The Mayo Clinic Care Network will also benefit from DHMC’s addition to the group, Hayes said.
“This gives a broader depth to the network — Dartmouth is a recognized name,” he said.
The network includes health systems in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri and North Dakota, and it plans to add more hospitals by the end of the year, although no exact number has been specified, Hayes said.
Staff writer Leslie Ye contributed reporting to this article.