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 MINNEAPOLIS, April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Four of Minnesota's leading health care institutions today announced the formation of "The Institute for Clinical Systems Integration" -- a nonprofit organization whose goals are to implement continuous quality improvement, measure outcomes of care, and create and implement appropriateness guidelines.
 The four organizations, Park Nicollet Medical Center, Group Health, Inc., MedCenters Health Plan and Mayo Clinic, will each commit significant medical and information systems resources to the development of the Institute.
 The Institute also will focus on the development of automated clinical systems that will both enhance the quality of care and reduce care-related administrative costs. The Institute, believed to be the first of its kind, will benefit patients in terms of improved medical care through shared information and expertise, as well as benefit employers who are seeking better medical outcomes and reduced costs in health care services for their employees.
 "Each of our organizations has been pursuing these goals independently," said James L. Reinertsen, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Park Nicollet Medical Center. "We each have a dozen or more medical care protocol projects and we've each been pleased with the results. At Park Nicollet, for example, we recently developed an approach that improves accuracy of diagnosis, and reduces the sleepless nights between breast lump detection and final diagnosis by a week or more. That both better medicine and better focus on the patient's emotional and psychological needs.
 "Group Health has developed mammography and early detection protocols that are significantly better than the national averages in detecting cancers before they progress to more dangerous stages three and four," said Dr. Reinertsen.
 "MedCenters Health Plan is using a new interactive videodisk program to enable patients to make more informed treatment choices," said George Isham, M.D., MedCenters medical director. "This innovative technology is allowing MedCenters to increase patient satisfaction while providing more intelligent and efficient delivery of care."
 "Mayo Clinic surgeons have found ways to virtually eliminate post- operative complications from blood clots and have significantly reduced the need for reoperations on patients with some type of heart problems," said Douglas L. Wood, M.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist and vice chair of the Mayo's Quality Committee.
 "We're interested in continuing that work together -- as a team -- to improve both the quality and the efficiency of care," said Dr. Reinertsen.
 "There's no point in reinventing any wheels," said Paul J. Brat, M.D., Group Health, Inc. medical director and Group Health Foundation president. "We each are committed to applying the principles of continuous quality improvement (CQI) to health care -- and, after sharing information about the projects we each have underway -- we decided that we could create even better outcomes by working as one team. The critical mass of our combined patient population also lets us do research that is more statistically valid than the research any of us can do alone."
 "Mayo Clinic is a long-term believer in the application of CQI techniques to medicine," said Dr. Wood. "One of our frustrations, however, has been that most of our practice is focused on very sick people who we did not treat until they became very ill. We believe that other patterns of care early in the treatment process might have created better outcomes for many patients. This project gives us a unique opportunity to work with strong and comprehensive care systems to help design those early treatment approaches. We're excited about the opportunity to work with Group Health, MedCenters and Park Nicollet, to assist in the development of full-spectrum care guidelines."
 The Institute will be governed by a board comprised of representatives from Mayo Clinic, Group Health staff clinics, Park Nicollet clinics, and the affiliated clinics of MedCenters and Group Health. The board also will include business representatives who will help with the process of setting priorities for the Institute.
 Dr. Reinertsen will serve as the first chair of the new Institute and Dr. Brat will serve as the first vice chair.
 "We expect to invest up to $10 million in the Institute over the next several years," said George Halvorson, Group Health, Inc., president and chief executive officer. "Protocol development, technology assessment and system design will all be enhanced by this cooperative effort.
 "All segments of society are concerned about the rising costs of health care. The only reasonable way to bring costs down is through making health care delivery more efficient and focusing on health care outcomes. The Institute will take a leading role in attaining both of these goals."
 "The Institute will meet a currently unfulfilled need," said Kirby Erickson, MedCenters Health Plan executive director. "This Institute will be unique in its ability to look at all of the health care data from hundreds of thousands of patients in the context of an integrated delivery network -- not academic research. It also will be unique in its ability to implement its findings quickly and efficiently through our care systems. This approach is reality-based -- not just investigative."
 "Medicine needs to continuously improve," Dr. Reinertsen said. "That improvement should be achieved through a cooperative, professional process -- not through a rules-driven rationing process imposed on medicine by insurers or other outside regulators. We need to do the job ourselves and do it right -- or we will deserve the inspection and regulation we will have imposed upon us.
 "I believe this Institute has the potential to make a real, meaningful and measurable difference in the way care is delivered in Minnesota and elsewhere," Dr. Reinertsen concluded. "With the talent we've assembled, we're optimistic that we will succeed."
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 /CONTACT: Sara McFee of Group Health, 612-623-8761; Chris Gade of Mayo Clinic, 507-284-2430; Jacqueline Hanson of MedCenters, 612-371-5503; or Lisa Graham-Peterson of Park Nicollet, 612-927-3610/ CO: Group Health, Inc.; MedCenters Health Plan; Park Nicollet Medical
 Center ST: Minnesota IN: MTC SU:

DS -- MN014 -- 2773 04/24/92 18:17 EDT
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Date:Apr 24, 1992

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