Washington, D.C. (August 20, 2014) – The Gary and Mary West Health Institute and MedStar Health, the largest not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region, announced a broad collaboration agreement today.
The goal of this unique relationship is for the West Health Institute and MedStar to jointly cultivate new ideas and approaches, including the potential development of innovative solutions, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost. As part of the collaboration agreement, MedStar, with its system of 10 hospitals and multiple ambulatory sites, may serve as the primary clinical research site for a variety of care delivery and payment reform models, leveraging its wide range of clinicians and experts to inform, and potentially implement, the new initiatives. In addition, the MedStar Institute for Innovation includes a Center for Innovation in Healthcare Delivery.
“It is essential to have a space where innovators and entrepreneurs can experiment with and test new operating methods. The collaboration between the West Health Institute, MedStar Health and the MedStar Institute for Innovation has allowed us to take a groundbreaking step that will lead the way to truly bending the healthcare cost curve,” said Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer and entrepreneur in residence at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Today’s announcement also kicks off an in-depth review of MedStar’s nationally recognized Medical House Call Program (MHCP) model to identify the key levers that will catalyze the growth of home-based primary care for the frail elderly. The efforts will specifically target an understanding of the factors that impact scaling, spreading and sustaining such models of care and how barriers to such activity can be mitigated.
In the current issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, Eric De Jonge, MD, co-founder of MHCP and director of geriatrics at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, reports his findings that home-based care of frail elders reduced Medicare costs by 17 percent during a two-year study period.
“MedStar’s innovative care model has the potential to bring improved care at a lower cost to those who need it most. Our hope is to identify and solve the significant challenges associated with caring for some of the sickest elderly patients,” said Nicholas J. Valeriani, chief executive officer of the West Health Institute. “Expanding a home-based care program nationwide to bring comprehensive, high-quality care to seniors in their homes — at costs far lower than care provided in hospitals — could help transform the way healthcare is delivered.”
Mark Smith, MD, director of the MedStar Institute for Innovation, said, “The vision of the MedStar Institute for Innovationhich acts as a catalyst and seed crystal for innovation across the entire MedStar organization, is to address the challenges in healthcare today by inventing the future. Joining forces with the West Health Institute allows us to meet that charge with the full force of two highly complementary and forward-thinking institutions. Neither one of us can get where we need to be by looking inward. To paraphrase an African proverb: If you want to go fast, travel alone; if you want to go far, travel together.”
The initial eight-month research project will be led by Nag Murty, who has been bringing new ideas and expertise into HHS programs through his role as the West Health Institute’s Innovator-in-Residence at HHS since 2013. Murty will be working with MedStar’s De Jonge and Smith, as well as clinical and innovation teams from both organizations.