Q & A with Veronique Roger, M.D., Director of the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery
1. What is health care delivery science?
The science of health care delivery focuses on how patients actually receive care. From using engineering principles to determine the most efficient way to schedule patient appointments, to research focusing on the most successful, cost-effective means for delivering treatment, this discipline's aim is to enhance the patient's experience with health care by improving quality, outcomes and cost.
2. What is the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?
The Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery (CSHCD) is a new initiative that builds upon more than a century of health care delivery research at Mayo Clinic. The goal of the CSHCD is to focus and coordinate resources to analyze, evaluate and implement care delivery models that improve value for patients.
The center is highly focused on the "science" aspect of care delivery — not simply on anecdotal evidence that may suggest issues or solutions. Combining data analysis, engineering principles and health care delivery research, CSHCD will put its theories, models and care delivery methods through the scientific rigor necessary to determine whether or not they will improve patient care, outcomes and cost. Ideas developed and tested in the center can be seamlessly implemented into the Mayo Clinic practice.
3. Describe Mayo Clinic's experience with health care delivery science.
Mayo Clinic, which pioneered the first group practice of medicine, has applied health care delivery science principles since its inception. For example, Henry Plummer, M.D., an early partner of the Mayo brothers, developed the concept of a unified patient record in 1907. This record replaced individual patient notes that physicians had kept tucked away in their offices. The unified record included a patient's medical history, clinic visits and hospitalizations in a single paper file that traveled with the patient and was kept in a central location. This innovation allowed all providers easy access to a patient's critical health information and led to improved, integrated care for patients.
4. Why was this center created at Mayo Clinic?
American health care cries out for the discipline of health care delivery science because — as a whole — U.S. health care is disintegrated, uncoordinated and expensive.
As Congress continues to grapple with how to reform health care, Mayo Clinic is "just doing it" — starting with our own medical practice. We constantly strive to perfect our own processes and procedures because we believe that health care providers have a responsibility to lead this effort. By creating the CSHCD, Mayo Clinic is emphasizing the need to invest more resources into this discipline and accelerate the pace of improvement.
Through the center, Mayo Clinic will continue to lead the way in patient-centered health care innovation. By developing best care practices at Mayo Clinic and with partners across the country, Mayo Clinic will work to alleviate the nation's health care problems and improve the standard of care nationwide.
5. How is the center organized?
CSHCD encompasses four major programs. Each has a specific role to play in our quest to improve quality and add value to patient care.
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