Friday, July 8, 2011

Mayo Clinic: First four points.

The needs of the patient come first. 

“At Mayo the focus is on the patient. The needs of the patient come first.  I think one of the Mayo brothers originally said it—and here, that really is the case,” says Patterson. “We also do high quality research at Mayo, and we have a graduate school of medicine.  But research is not the primary focus.

At Mayo, on the other hand, stardom is frowned up. “Mayo has been, from the beginning, a group practice,” says Patterson. “You really have to be a team player. People in administrative positions understand that everyone is an important member of the team.”

An Egalitarian Culture

You may have heard that at Mayo, doctors collaborate. But did you know that after their first five years all physicians within a single department are paid the same salary?  During those first years, physicians receive "step raises" each year. After that, they top out ,and "he or she is paid just the same as someone who is internationally known and has been there for thirty years,"  says Patterson. ("Most could earn substantially more in private fee-for-service practice." he adds.) 

“It doesn’t matter how much revenue you bring in,” Patterson explains, “or how many procedures you do. We’re all salaried staff—paid equally.

“Turnover is very low. It’s unusual for people to leave here, and when they do, many like me, wind up coming back.  You would be surprised—we celebrate many 35 and 40 year anniversaries. That fact that people stay so long is important to the success of the organization.”

Patterson does not sound as if he’s boasting. He didn’t found Mayo. He didn’t create the culture. He merely works there—and he is telling me why he likes it. 

Yet I believe that there is much that health care reformers can learn by studying how Mayo operates.

There is, after all, a difference between healthcare and hamburgers.  Healthcare is not a commodity.

Healthcare is not a commodity.

Yet—and this is key—although Mayo’s doctors are not worrying about the dollar value of what they do, they are not more extravagant than other doctors  in dispensing care.  Quite the opposite:  Extensive analysis of Medicare records done by researchers at Dartmouth Universityreveals that treatment at the Mayo Clinic in RochesterMinnesota costs Medicare far less than when very similar patients are treated at other prestigious medical centers.

Yet no one would suggest that Mayo scrimps when treating patients. The Clinic received stellar marks on established measures of the quality of care, and both patient satisfaction and doctor satisfaction were higher than at UCLA. 

…………when it comes to healthcare, lower costs and higher quality often go hand in hand. Mayo’s patients are not hospitalized as long as patients at other medical centers—and don’t see as many specialists—because resources are used efficiently, and diagnoses are made quickly.

A Fully Integrated System

“Here at Mayo, we can do things in a week that take several weeks to organize in New York,” says Patterson.  This is because Mayo is an integrated medical center.

For example, “In New York, each division has its own staff to make appointments.  If I wanted several specialists to see a patient, I had to go through each of those divisions. At Mayo, we have a pediatric appointment office that makes all of the appointments for pediatric patients.”

Meanwhile, at Mayo, “We have a unitary medical record and a very effective IT department,” says Patterson.  “We developed our own software, and we can we dictate notes—we don’t have to type.” (This is a boon because, believe it or not, many doctors don’t know how to type.) 

“In the hospital, what we dictate can be transcribed within about an hour.” Patterson adds. “In the clinic, it’s done by the next half-day. In the meantime, if someone needs to access your notes, they can dial in and listen to the dictation.”

“…….Mayo offers proof that when a like-minded group of doctors practice medicine to the very best of their ability—without worrying about the revenues they are bringing in for the hospital, the fees they are accumulating for themselves, or even whether the patient can pay—patients satisfaction is higher, physicians are happier, and the medical bills are lower.”

                                                                                   NHS & The Mayo Model: What if!

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