Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grand Junction CO & Health Reform

Grand Junction Colorado's health care system is often sited as excellent and one to be envied.

The system excels because of extraordinary collaboration. This did not occur at random or in a vacuum. Effective collaboration results from the tenacious commitment of its key players to a shared vision of community performance, realized through incentives, information sharing, and appreciation of distinct comparative advantages. Many lessons of the Grand Junction experience should inform the national health reform debate.

Lesson #1:
Vision and incentives are essential to an operational sense of community. Grand Junction’s leaders view their own self-interest and the community’s interests as congruent.

Lesson #2:
Information systems and data sharing are essential for collaboration and trust. The electronic records system and the interoperability enable evidence-based collaboration on complex and high-cost cases, across institutions and among clinicians.

Lesson #3:
Complementary institutions pursuing their comparative advantages facilitate collaboration. Grand Junction’s providers allow specialized complements to focus on specific populations to ensure that all residents get the right care at the right time.

Lesson #4:
Primary care is the core of any high performance health system. Throughout a patient’s life, primary care physicians in Grand Junction are involved in all levels of treatment. Continuity and collaboration between primary care physicians, specialists, and other members of care teams leads to higher-quality care, better outcomes, and lower costs. Most importantly, team-based care refocuses the delivery system on the patient, not on the provider.

I am happy to provide a PDF of an article called Grand Junction, Colorado: A Health Community That Works to all interested readers. The authors are Len Nichols, Micah Weinberg and Julie Barnes.


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