Premera & Providence an example of partnerships to improve healthcare Premera Blue Cross and Providence Health & Services have been working on several collaborative projects in recent months that will improve healthcare delivery in Washington. This partnership will grow into additional programs over time, but the first project with patient-centered medical homes in Everett, Olympia, Spokane, and Walla Walla, which launched on May 1.  We’re excited about them and believe they’re important.

The phrase “medical home” gets tossed around a lot, but the ultimate point of the program is ensuring the patient gets the right care at the right time. This particular medical home partnership focuses on improving access to and coordination of primary care with a team approach to medicine. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals work together to deliver accessible, coordinated, high quality care – at no additional cost to the patients.

While patients tend to love this arrangement for all the obvious reasons, this re-design of primary care is also targeted to produce higher quality patient outcomes and controlled healthcare costs.  It’s simple to understand that patients receiving better care to manage conditions like diabetes and chronic heart disease will not only have better outcomes, those improved outcomes can also control costs.  Why? Fewer trips to the ER, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer urgent care needs. Thus, the project can become a true win-win for everyone involved.

Both Premera and Providence share a history of innovation and quality, and through this help improve health system.   More importantly, this is just one example of payers and providers working together to make the delivery of healthcare more cost-effective – making  sure patients are getting the right care at the right time.

We plan on taking the lessons learned from this work with Providence, as well as with other providers on related projects, to build toward system-wide solutions that can drive the most value and improvement.  Collectively, key stakeholders in the healthcare won’t achieve shared goals in improving quality while controlling costs unless we can build models that can scale up across the system.  That’s the challenge we all face and have to work together to address.