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Methodist joins Mayo Clinic Care Network: Q&A with Methodist's Dr. Stephen Mansfield & Mayo's Dr. David Hayes

On Sept. 9, Dallas-based Methodist Health System announced that it joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The affiliation will allow physicians at Methodist to collaborate closely with Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic on patient care, community health and innovative healthcare delivery.

Stephen L. Mansfield, PhD, president and CEO of Methodist Health System, and David Hayes, MD, medical director of Mayo Clinic Care Network, discuss the affiliation, what it means for their organizations and what excites them most about the future post-affiliation.  Mansfield Steve 6043

Question: What does the affiliation mean for your organizations?   

Dr. Stephen Mansfield: Through this affiliation, the 1,500 physicians at Methodist have a formalized process for tapping into the research, science and physician acumen of the approximately 4,000 scientists and physicians at Mayo. This clinical collaboration will connect our physicians and Mayo's physicians to improve care in North Texas.

We will have the advantage of taking best practices and evidence-based guidelines developed at Mayo. And while we may tweak them to suit our organization, we will use those guidelines to improve care delivery.

Our physicians and Mayo physicians will also serve on each others' tumor boards, and our patients who are suffering from cancer will have access to Mayo physicians as well.

david-hayesDr. David Hayes: Membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network means that we have a structured way of relating to the organizations. We can provide remote Mayo Clinic expertise and knowledge and can extend our repository of medical information. Member organizations can have electronic access to specific resources that we have developed for internal use.  

Q: Why did Methodist decide to join the Mayo Clinic Network? How will it affect the organization's operations?

SM: Methodist is performing at a high level on clinical quality measures, but our goal is to accomplish perfect evidence-based healthcare, every time, for every patient. Applying the care pathways and research being conducted at Mayo Clinic to our organizational performance will allow us to fast-forward our efforts to accomplish that goal.

As we looked at potential options for this collaboration, we felt that Mayo had the most to offer Methodist and vice versa. If you want to be the best, you need to be working with the best, and we think that is Mayo.  

Q: In light of the current healthcare climate, is affiliation between organizations a positive trend? If so, why?

SM: I think so. What is going on in healthcare at a macro level is that the industry in America is under pressure to improve patient experience, improve outcomes and do that at a lower cost. So affiliation can help organizations do that.
While costs, experience and outcomes are all strengths for Methodist we know we can do better and that's why the Mayo affiliation made sense.

DH: An alignment such as the Mayo Clinic Care Network may allow patients to remain locally for care if a remote opinion can be delivered. If the information is delivered remotely and either concurs with the current management approach or suggests other steps to be taken locally, the patient may not need to travel to an academic medical center. Our goal is providing higher value at a lower cost, and if we can help keep patients local, it is best for them.  

Q: What are some important considerations for organizations looking to affiliate?

SM: Every organization, every region and every market is different. You need to make sure that the culture of your organization and the affiliate organization align well. This is something we identified early on — what Mayo and Methodist were trying to accomplish were completely aligned.  
DH: From our standpoint, we are looking for high-quality, patient-centric organizations with a similar culture to Mayo. That's the key.
Q: What are you most excited for in terms of the future of your organizations, in light of this affiliation?

SM: I've been a patient at Methodist and I may be a patient here again, and I like the idea of having access to the 1,500 outstanding physicians at Methodist as well as the 4,000 high-quality physicians at Mayo at no extra cost to the patient. It is exciting that Mayo Clinic is trying to transform the healthcare system with their unique expertise through these clinical collaborations.

DH: What excites me about working with the groups in our network is that the more I get to know them, the more I see all kinds of great things going on at these organizations. That shows me that we can work together. I think there is value in having different healthcare groups come together. We feel this approach leads to more integrated healthcare delivery.
In contrast, we believe mergers and acquisitions could further fragment healthcare. Having this network in place prepares us better for what changes could take place in the healthcare industry in the future.

As the network grows we are adding new tools and services. The most recent additions include educational offerings and pilots in patient outcome research.

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