Why It’s Time to Raise Awareness in the Fight Against Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is curable when detected early, yet an American man dies from the disease every 18 minutes. Affecting one in seven men, this disease is even more common than breast cancer (which affects one in eight women), but public awareness and research funding to improve diagnosis and treatment are still lacking.

That’s where AdMeTech Foundation – which works with some of the greatest minds in medicine, including doctors at Brigham and Women’s (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospitals (MGH) and the Dana Farber Cancer Center (DFCC) – plays an important role. My co-founders and I established AdMeTech in 1997 to help expedite the development of better diagnostic tools to detect and treat aggressive prostate cancer earlier. Accurate diagnosis is the biggest challenge today in prostate cancer care, so one of our main efforts has been The Manogram® Project. This research, education, awareness and advocacy initiative was designed to be men’s answer to women’s regular mammograms.

As a Boston-based foundation, we’ve benefited tremendously from long-standing collaborations.

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Tags: industry interactions, research and discovery

An Update on Our Plans with South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health System

After conversations with the Attorney General’s office last week, we have taken an important step with regard to our affiliation plans with South Shore Hospital (SSH) and Hallmark Health System (HHS). The Attorney General made a public statement and a formal filing with the court yesterday.

We have listened and heard the public concerns, and in conjunction with the leadership at SSH, we have decided that the best approach is not to proceed with our plan to bring SSH into Partners. We are extremely grateful to the entire SSH community for their tireless commitment to our collective vision. We have a strong clinical affiliation with SSH and that will continue.

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Tags: industry interactions

Higher-Quality Care: Reducing the Risks of ICU Stays

This is the first in an ongoing series by our Quality, Safety & Value team highlighting Partners HealthCare’s efforts to develop and implement best practices across our network of hospitals to improve the quality of care patients receive while reducing costs.

At Partners HealthCare, we’re investing in system-wide clinical teams to improve care and reduce costs. One of those teams, the Partners Critical Care Collaborative, shares best practices with all our hospitals to improve patient care and outcomes in our hospital intensive care units (ICU).

One challenge that patients frequently experience in an ICU is delirium, which is a rapid change in consciousness and brain function. And patients in an ICU with mechanical ventilation, or assisted breathing, can also acquire mental or physical weakness as a result of their care. Both delirium and ICU-related weakness increase the chance of staying in the hospital longer and can lead to negative outcomes such as reduced mental or physical function, or increased mortality.

The cost to society is enormous. Caring for delirious, mechanically-ventilated patients in the United States can cost anywhere from $6.5 to $20.4 billion a year, according to research published in Critical Care Nurse.

The cost to patients is even more troubling. Patients with delirium can have lifelong reduced mental or physical function, increased likelihood of going to a nursing home, difficulty maintaining social relationships, and delays in returning to work. Patients with ICU-related weakness can have muscle problems up to one year after their illness.

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Tags: uniform high quality

Partners Names New CEO

David Torchiana

We are pleased to share the news that the Partners HealthCare Board of Directors met Wednesday evening to choose its next President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. David Torchiana. He is currently Chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization (MGPO). Dr. Torchiana is recognized and respected as a thoughtful, caring leader whose wisdom and understanding of today’s health care environment will provide a steady hand for Partners in the years ahead.

Last fall, Dr. Gary Gottlieb announced his intentions to step down from his leadership position this year to join Partners In Health as its CEO. We will be forever grateful to Dr. Gottlieb for his dedication and his vision for our organization as he set us on a course that has proven to be an important guide for our future. Dr. Torchiana will assume his new role in March 2015.

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Tags: industry interactions

Creating Competitive Jobs for People with Disabilities

For many years, individuals with disabilities have found jobs through programs that gave them work experience but weren’t necessarily competitive in terms of benefits, compensation and the opportunity to grow in a career.

At Partners HealthCare, we’re focused on taking those opportunities to the next level by creating a more integrated workforce in which employees with disabilities have as much access to competitive jobs as the rest of their colleagues.

Beyond being “the right thing to do,” having an integrated workforce makes good business sense. It always helps us as health care providers to have a work force that reflects the communities we serve. It allows us to have a richer understanding of each other and also maximize the talents we bring to caring for our patients.

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Tags: creating jobs

A Decision Regarding Our Proposed Partnerships

This afternoon, Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders rejected our consent agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General which would have allowed us to proceed with our affiliation plans with South Shore Hospital (SSH) and Hallmark Health System (HHS). This decision is very disappointing for all involved in this process, including the South Shore and Hallmark communities that have been incredibly supportive. The judge’s ruling was announced just this afternoon so it will take some time to review the decision.

The judge has said “no” to an agreement that we believe would have paved a pathway to delivering high-quality care closer to home for patients and their families in a lower cost community-based setting. I want to thank everyone who was engaged in this extended process for your patience and your dedication to our vision of providing accessible and affordable health care.

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Tags: industry interactions

Leading the Call for More Focus on Value, Not Volume

We’re teaming up with some of the country’s largest insurers and health care systems to promote new payment models for health care providers that improve the quality of care and help lower costs. As The New York Times reported this week, the Health Care Transformation Task Force will advocate for new payment structures that are based on the value provided to patients, instead of a fee-for-service model.

Our goal is to achieve “Triple Aim” outcomes: better health, better care, and lower costs. As part of the alliance, we’re committing to put 75 percent of our primary care patients into value-based arrangements by 2020. And at Partners, we are already on the right path.

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Tags: affordability, redesigning care

Health Care Costs Need Not Be a “Bitter Pill” to Swallow

How has American healthcare fared since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed? That’s the wide-ranging question that Steven Brill’s new book “America’s Bitter Pill” strives to answer, and Brill’s response is more positive than one might expect.

Brill explores the impact of America’s evolving healthcare system on patients, providers and insurers, including a glimpse into Partners’ own efforts to redesign health care. In his research for the book, Brill spoke with Partners CEO and president Dr. Gary Gottlieb about our 2011 agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield – a promise to improve quality while lowering costs.

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Tags: redesigning care

Grants Help Prevent Hunger This Holiday Season

Hunger assistance grants in South Boston

More than 11 percent of Massachusetts families live in food insecure homes, which means that approximately 700,000 people in Massachusetts don’t know where their next meal is coming from today. In an effort to address this crisis, Partners HealthCare is providing Hunger Assistance grants to 18 local community health centers during the holidays.

Food insecurity is not only stressful; it can also have a significant effect on one’s health and well being. Studies have shown that adults who suffer from food insecurity are at higher risk of suffering from chronic diseases including diabetes and hypertension, and also at greater risk for anxiety and depression. Children living in food insecure homes are at higher risk of slowed development and growth and are more likely to struggle academically.

This is the second year Partners has provided Hunger Assistance grants to community health centers.

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Tags: community, community partnerships

Partners CEO Gary Gottlieb on Our Evolving Models of Care, NHP and His Future

Dr. Gary Gottlieb

Partners HealthCare CEO Gary Gottlieb, MD, recently spoke with Modern Healthcare about some of the strategies we’ve pursued to expand access to affordable health care, closer to our patients’ homes.

One major effort of recent years has involved implementing population health management across our system. This serves a greater goal, as Dr. Gottlieb explained. “Collectively, there’s been a spirit of redesigning the front end of care, serving patients in medical homes with care managers, allowing us to reduce total medical expenses.”

Another way we’re improving care delivery, increasing efficiency and reducing costs is by pursuing partnerships with community hospitals. Dr. Gottlieb told Modern Healthcare why this practice works for our patients.

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Tags: industry interactions

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