New Clinical Institutes establish consistency and excellence
Written by Laurel DiGangi
Advances in health care occur at a rapid pace. Providence is committed to maintaining the highest standards of care through Clinical Institutes. The Institutes consist of an ongoing process of review, providing clinicians with access to best-practice findings, data and reports.
The six Clinical Institutes are Cancer, Heart, Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Neuroscience, Mental Health, and Women & Children’s Health. These Clinical Institutes share resources across the seven-state Providence Health system (including Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers San Pedro and Torrance), resulting in a high-quality experience for patients, with predictable costs and outcomes.
Sylvain Trepanier, DNP, RN, chief clinical executive for Providence St. Joseph Health, Southern California region, says this model of care ensures that patients consistently receive the highest level of care at the Providence facility closest to their home. The model creates a venue for providers within the network to discuss new studies and technologies, their potential benefits to patients and the best ways to implement them.
Communicating and sharing information elevates health care throughout the system, he says.
“It’s a way of rallying our resources,” says Trepanier, “so that all specialty providers within an institute have the ability to get together and influence the strategies and operations of our various ministries.”
The referral process within each Clinical Institute is streamlined, providing patients with easier access to an impressive roster of specialists across the seven-state region. Improved access to specialists also provides for greater continuity of care, Trepanier says.
For example, a patient scheduled for cardiac surgery at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance would benefit from the Clinical Institute model by having the most appropriate surgeon assigned to perform the procedure.
"Because of our network, we are able to navigate the system and get the best physicians within our greater network to assist the patient. Our Clinical Institutes enable us to provide patients with access to the highest level of care."
“Suppose the patient required a specific heart procedure not traditionally practiced there,” he says. “Because of our network, we are able to navigate the system and get the best physicians within our greater network to assist the patient. Our Clinical Institutes enable us to provide patients with access to the highest level of care.”
Under this care model, patients receive the best possible care, close to their homes. The physician commutes to the patient’s primary hospital for the procedure.
Within the Providence system, patient health care records can be accessed by all their providers to ensure seamless communication.
“That means when a patient is seeking care, and a physician from another ministry comes in, they’re not starting over,” he says. “Information will not be ‘lost in translation.’”
Reducing variations in care among hospitals is a major goal of the institutes. For example, cancer patients will receive the best possible individualized treatment no matter where they receive care within the system.
“We want the variation to become so narrow that eventually it really doesn’t matter what hospital within the system you go to, you can expect the same level of care,” he says. “By decreasing variation in care, we’ve become reliable in delivering care, which translates into better outcomes.’
For instance, the Women & Children’s Institute is working toward reducing the number of cesarean sections performed within the network (see page 29). Reducing the rate of unnecessary C-sections nationwide is a key goal of the federal government and several other health care organizations.
“There’s a lot of literature and research demonstrating that C-sections should only be done in certain circumstances because of the complications associated with them,” he says. “We’ve been very deliberate in leveraging our Clinical Institute model to establish protocols and decrease variation of care so we can reduce our C-section rate within our entire region.”
In addition to improving outcomes, Clinical Institutes can reduce costs.
“From a business perspective, we should be good stewards of our resources,” he says. “This venue allows us to prioritize and decide where we should invest our resources by bringing multiple partners to the table to make strategic decisions. Everyone wins because patients end up getting the best possible care at the least possible cost."