A Plan for Better Care at North Shore Medical Center

At Partners HealthCare, we’re committed to providing better care, close to home for all of the communities we serve. That’s why we’re announcing a plan to improve care and coordination with North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) by serving the needs of the region more efficiently and significantly improving access to behavioral health and addiction services.

Our plan realigns the practices and facilities at NSMC’s campuses in Salem and Lynn to make high-quality care more effective and efficient, while increasing the availability of those services that North Shore residents use most. It will also save $18 million a year in health care costs.

First, we’ll consolidate all of NSMC’s hospital-based medical, surgical and behavioral health services on one campus at NSMC’s Salem Hospital. All inpatient services at Union Hospital in Lynn will move to Salem Hospital over the course of the next three years. NSMC will expand and enhance the services provided in Salem, including building a new Emergency Department and two additional family-centered inpatient units.

Nearby on the campus of Salem Hospital, the former Spaulding Hospital North Shore will be converted to a Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health with direct ties to Massachusetts General Hospital.


Tags: coordinated care, uniform high quality

A Warm Welcome to the MLK Summer Scholars

Mayor Walsh at MLK Summer Scholars EVENT

A summer job can prove to be much more than a paycheck—it can be a valuable professional experience that gives young people the opportunity to connect with mentors. And economic and educational opportunities can in turn have a positive impact on health.

At Partners HealthCare, we are committed to addressing all the social factors that affect health. That’s why we have once again partnered with John Hancock on the MLK Summer Scholars Program.

We’re very proud of this partnership, as it helps to ensure that nearly 650 Boston public school students have summer employment.


Tags: community partnerships, creating jobs

Profiles in Compassion: Dr. Audrey Provenzano

Audrey Provenzano with patient

The Kraft Fellowship in Community Health Leadership is a competitive two-year post-residency program dedicated to preparing a new generation of physician-leaders to foster new models of collaboration between academic medicine and community health centers.

Kraft Fellows are selected on the basis of academic achievement, leadership ability, and demonstrated commitment to caring for underserved patients. Each one of them brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives to the program – and so we thought you might enjoy getting to know each Kraft Fellow a little bit better.

The latest fellow in our series is Dr. Audrey Provenzano, an alumna of Wellesley College and Yale University School of Medicine who completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Read about her fellowship at The Dimock Center below, in her own words.

Why community health?

My mother shaped much of how I see the world, and one of her greatest lessons to me was one of social justice. So, I approached a career in medicine through that lens, with the desire to work for vulnerable and underserved patients. When I was in medical school, I fell in love with community health through HAVEN, the student-run free clinic at Yale, which was run out of Fair Haven Community Health Center. I loved that the clinic approached health with a broad point of view, and attempted to address the social determinants of health that so deeply impact health outcomes for their patient population. I knew that was the environment in which I wanted to practice in the future.


Tags: community, redesigning care

Higher-Quality Care: Finding a Better Approach to Treating Depression

Depression and related diseases have a staggering impact on our society and the U.S. economy. In 2012, approximately 7 percent of adults in the United States, or 16 million, had at least one episode of major depression. The lifetime risk of suicide for untreated depression can range as high as 15 percent. In addition, depression is a leading cause of disability for people aged 18-44 years old, and results in nearly 400 million disability days every year. In 2010 alone, depression and related diseases cost the U.S. economy over $200 billion dollars, a 21 percent increase over 2005.

As Andrew Solomon noted in his book “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression,” “Depression claims more years than war, cancer, and AIDS put together. Other illnesses, from alcoholism or heart disease, mask depression when it causes them; if one takes that into consideration, depression may be the biggest killer on earth.”

At Partners HealthCare, depression is among the five most common medical conditions that primary care physicians see and represents 10 percent of all primary care patient visits.

When it comes to identifying patients with depression, primary care doctors play a critical role. We’re working hard to help our doctors identify patients with depression as early as possible and connect them to mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, social workers and others. Getting patients access to treatment early on also helps coordinate care and reduce overall health costs for Partners and our communities.


Tags: uniform high quality

How Safer Streets Can Improve Public Health

Attendees at MPHA event to discuss Complete Streets and Public Health

Addressing public health issues requires the hard work and commitment of many. At Partners HealthCare, we’re dedicated to working with local non-profit organizations to meet all the health needs of our community. The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) shares in our commitment to promoting health equity for all, which is why we joined together for their “Active Streets, Healthy Families, and Equitable Communities” event held at the State House recently.

The event centered on the concept of “complete streets,” a national movement that the City of Boston has also undertaken. Complete streets initiatives strive to make streets as safe and accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users as they are to drivers, among other things. By making streets safer for people to bike and walk, communities can also create new opportunities for residents to embrace a more active lifestyle – thus impacting public health for the better.


Tags: community, community partnerships

An Investment That Will Revolutionize Patient Care

Carole Dowd and team at Newton Wellesley

Over the weekend, we continued the rollout of a new integrated electronic records management system that represents one of the most important investments in quality and safety that we have ever made. With Partners eCare, patients have a single record containing all of their clinical and billing information – and it will follow them around the Partners system, wherever they’re receiving care.

The scale and scope of the project mark a major milestone in clinical care. This weekend’s launch at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), BWH Faulkner Hospital and its clinical partner Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Partners HealthCare at Home build on smaller events to integrate administrative systems at Newton-Wellesley and Massachusetts General Hospitals. By 2017, we’ll roll out the complete array of clinical and administrative applications system across all 10 hospitals and 6,000 doctors at Partners.


Tags: redesigning care, technology

Partners’ Performance in the Pioneer ACO

Since 2012, Partners HealthCare has been one of the participants in the U.S. government’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) pilot program. In both 2012 and 2013, previous reporting showed that Partners had decreased the rate of growth of health care costs.

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) released an evaluation of Pioneer ACO results for the first two years of the program, as The Boston Globe reported. This evaluation used a different methodology than the one we are held accountable to in our Pioneer ACO contract.


Tags: affordability, industry interactions

Working Together to Improve Care and Lower Costs

Cori Loescher RN Faulkner 21 Program

With the recent publication of our annual report, we took an opportunity to look back over the past year at advances and achievements throughout the Partners HealthCare system. Through strong partnerships and system-wide efforts, we’ve continued to improve the quality of health care – and equally important, make it more affordable. Here are a few of the stories shared by hospitals around our network.

Increasing Access to Affordable Patient Care

A unique collaboration between two Partners hospitals, MassGeneral Hospital for Children at Newton-Wellesley Hospital made lower-cost pediatric care accessible to more than 9,000 pediatric patients in 2014.

And a close relationship between Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) is the foundation for the Faulkner21 patient transfer program. Faulkner21 has a goal of transferring 21 patients per week from the BWH Emergency Department to a General Medicine bed at the Faulkner – allowing patients to receive high-quality care in a lower-cost setting.


Tags: industry interactions, uniform high quality

Higher-Quality Care: Improving Clinical Processes Through System-Wide Learning

At Partners HealthCare, we are always looking for ways to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care while lowering health care costs. One of the benefits of our integrated health care system is the ability to implement change on a large scale. As a part of that effort, the Partners Healthcare Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program (CPIP) was launched in 2010 to engage clinical teams in quality improvement as a way to reduce variation in care from patient to patient — and ultimately, to improve patient health. The CPIP course is led by co-directors Sandhya Rao, M.D. and Joe Jacobson, M.D., along with associate course director Brian Cummings, M.D.

CPIP is a four-month program that includes classes, expert advice, studies of past cases and group exercises. Participants learn to use proven, scientific quality improvement tools to improve health care processes. Projects allow participants to translate theory into action and help create measurable quality improvement in our system. Over 400 CPIP graduates have completed more than 200 projects, and two-thirds of graduates continue to work on their projects after finishing the program.


Tags: uniform high quality

How Can We Improve Health Outcomes with Personal Health Trackers?

Runner tying sneaker

The idea of helping individuals use activity trackers to improve their health and wellness is something we are passionate about at Partners HealthCare Connected Health.

It’s been well documented that activity trackers are widely available and proven to increase physical activity. Yet they are not broadly used – and those who do use them often discontinue use after a short period. Encouraging consumers to incorporate activity trackers in their day-to-day lives could help improve the health of a large segment of the population.

For that reason, we launched Wellocracy, an online resource to educate and empower individuals to use activity trackers, wearable sensors and mobile apps to improve their health and wellness.


Tags: technology

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