Collaborating to Improve Health Care
Unique partnership focused on better outcomes
Patrick Lytle, Director of Northwest Alliance spoke to Coon Rapids Rotary on November 6, 2017 regarding the group’s work in changing health care outcomes.
Any time two large health care operators try to work together it's easy to expect there may be growing pains.  However, after nearly 7 years the collaboration between Allina Healthcare and Health Partners to improve healthcare outcomes in the northwest metro appears to be showing results.  According to Patrick Lytle, Director of the Northwest Alliance, the group serves nearly 600,000 people through a network of clinics operated by both providers, affiliated medical specialists and Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.  The initiative is focused on the Triple Aim: Delivering excellent patient experiences; improving health care; and making health care more affordable.  Since 2010, the partnership has worked on 60 different initiatives. 
Lytle highlighted two areas where the group has shown some positive results.  The first is in hospital re-admission interventions.  One of the more expensive parts of health care is driven by patients who don't receive proper care shortly after discharge and ultimately are re-admitted back into the hospital.  Now all patients go though standardized follow-up procedures to help avoid repeat visits to the hospital.  A 2014 study, showed an 11 percent reduction in re-admissions after the new program was put in place.  The second area is mental health care.  A significant amount of money is spent on mental health care, yet according to recent figures almost 1/3 of patients diagnosed with a mental illness received the wrong type of care.  Lytle said that the trend now is to move more mental health care "upstream", back into clinical settings where patients can get help earlier on.  In terms of affordability, the Northwest Alliance has helped reduce costs compared to metro-wide averages.  Between 2010 and 2016, average health care costs in the metro area increased by 8% per year.  In the Northwest Alliance service area, the costs have increased by 3% annually.  Good outcomes indeed.
Thanks to Patrick Lytle for his informative presentation.