January - April 2006 Issue
Partnering for Higher Quality Care and Better OutcomesRick Born has a front-row seat for the first-of-its-kind partnership behind the new Virtual ICU. He’s the CEO of the company formed by three independent healthcare partners — Froedtert & Community Health, ThedaCare and Bellin Health System in Green Bay — to operate the Virtual ICU in five hospitals.
The idea for electronic intensive care unit partnership, says Born, came from discussions that began a couple of years ago about finding ways for Froedtert & Community Health to work together with ThedaCare. Around the same time, ThedaCare was also looking for ways to partner with Bellin. Eventually, the three health systems — which don’t compete in any market — came together and focused on the Virtual ICU as theirfirst partnership effort. In addition, The Medical College of Wisconsin is a strategic partner in the endeavor.
While the technology company that developed the eICU® software has several other hospital customers across the country, never before has anyone bought the system to use across separately owned and independently operated health systems. That’s what makes the partnership among Froedtert & Community Health, ThedaCare and Bellin so unique.
“We’re setting the pace,” says Born. He explains that since the partners began planning their cross-system Virtual ICU, a group of hospitals in Maryland is looking at doing something similar and a group in St Louis wants to offer the system to rural hospitals across the country.
Among them, the three partners operate five hospitals, which have a total of nine ICUs. The hospitals are Froedtert; Community Memorial in Menomonee Falls; the two ThedaCare hospitals — Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah and Appleton Medical Center; and Bellin Hospital in Green Bay.
Leaders at Froedtert had learned about the eICU® software, which would allow a hospital to remotely monitor its ICU patients, add a new level of care and improve patient outcomes. But even for a facility the size of Froedtert, the cost was high, explains Born. Cost was one reason the three partners selected the Virtual ICU as their first partnership effort. Technology was another. The software allows monitoring of an ICU from miles away using the latest electronic technology. That meant even though the partner hospitals were independently owned and operated, they could still share the same technology.
To facilitate the partnership, the three healthcare systems formed Quality Health Solutions, and a subsidiary, Critical Care Solutions (CCS), which owns and operates the Virtual ICU. CCS is also owned by the three partners, and Born is CEO of both the parent and subsidiary company. With this structure, the parent company, Quality Health Solutions, is in a position to pursue other joint efforts in the future.
Source: Every Day
Date: January - April 2006 Issue