A Michigan hospital system becomes the fifth member of a new initiative to share data among caregivers to improve health care.
The Mayo Clinic has added a fifth health care system to its Mayo Clinic Care Network that aims to help doctors and clinicians tap into the Rochester-based organization's expertise.
Sparrow Health System, based in Lansing, Mich., joins organizations in Minnesota, Arizona, Missouri and North Dakota that already are part of the initiative, the Mayo Clinic said Friday.
Mayo launched the network informally last July to improve care and lower its cost by making it easier for doctors, nurses and other health care providers to share information about what works and what doesn't.
"The whole point of the networks is to extend Mayo's reach and to connect with high-quality organizations," said David Hayes, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
Members of the network pay a subscription fee to consult with Mayo specialists and to gain 24-hour online access to clinical information. That fee is not passed on to patients, Hayes said.
The network also offers tools to improve quality, enhance safety and score better on patient satisfaction, all of which will be more closely measured under new federal health policies.
Members of the network undergo "a robust due diligence process" into quality of care as well as education, safety, legal and cultural fit, Hayes said.
"The bar has been set high to protect Mayo and our association with it," he said.
The latest affiliate
Sparrow Health has 10,000 employees and draws patients mostly from the mid-Michigan area. It operates hospitals and specialty clinics in eight locations, and also is a teaching hospital affiliated with Michigan State University. In 2010, Sparrow posted revenue of $1 billion.
The affiliation with Mayo "will be invaluable" for physicians as Sparrow expands its service area, said Dr. John Armstrong, Sparrow's chief of medical staff, in a statement.
"Access to Mayo Clinic expertise and clinical resources will mean that our patients will receive some of the most advanced care in the nation, right here at Sparrow," Armstrong said.
Mayo had planned to offer the network to institutions within a 500-mile radius of one of its hubs in Rochester, Scottsdale, Ariz., or Jacksonville, Fla., Hayes said. Sparrow falls outside that range but was a quality operation that Mayo was "eager to engage with," Hayes said.
He said Mayo expects to expand the number of tools as well as the number of affiliations in the coming months.
Jackie Crosby 612-673-7335