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Collaborative "Learning Lab" Saves $6M in 10 Months for Minnesota Systems

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In its first year of a seven-year "learning lab," the joint effort between rival Minnesota health systems HealthPartners and Allina Hospitals and Clinics was able to shave $6 million from medical costs, according to a Star Tribune report.

Bloomington-based HealthPartners and Minneapolis-based Allina Hospitals and Clinics agreed to pool resources, share electronic patient records and mine insurance claims data for a group of about 26,700 people with private insurance.

The initiative has involved a range of changes: Physicians were told to prescribe more generic drugs; urgent care hours were expanded to reduce emergency department visits; and physicians spent more time talking to patients before they left the hospital.

In the first ten months under the collaborative, medical costs rose by 3 percent compared to recent annual increases of 8 percent.

Allina and HealthPartners wouldn't disclose how much they spent on new technology or staffing, but leaders of the organizations said this new, long-term view will be beneficial for patients and system finances.

Related Articles on Healthcare Collaboration:

Aetna, Emory Healthcare Form Patient-Centered Medical Home
Rady Children's Hospital Joins Statewide ACO Pilot Program in California
Mayo Clinic Partnership Boosts Efforts in Medical Research


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