Oklahoma’s largest health network has expanded its horizon through a new partnership.
Integris Health announced on Jan. 14 that it will join the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a system that connects physicians across the U.S. with other specialists who can offer guidance, among other services.
“The idea behind it is to allow physicians at Baptist to have contact with the physicians at Mayo if we have any challenging or unusual cases that they have seen in the past so we can ask them questions,” Dr. Perry Santos, an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon at Integris Baptist, said.
Launched five years ago in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic Care Network shares medical knowledge and research with various health institutes. Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world, employing more than 3,800 physicians and scientists and 50,900 allied health staff.
“The design is more of an association, no government or oversight or administrative changes,” Santos said. “It is simply an association of the two facilities.”
According to Santos, there are no administrative changes added with the clinical collaboration. Integris Health and Mayo Clinic will remain as two independent entities that will work together and share the same views.
The new association will provide access of Mayo Clinic’s resources to Integris doctors, benefitting patients by removing costs of travel and additional medical attention they would normally have to pay in such circumstances in the past.
Santos said that an additional benefit of the collaboration is the access to the “e-consult.” This technology will allow both clinics to access patient’s records, along with consulting specialists about patients’ care, which will then be documented at no additional cost.
According to Santos, Integris thought this partnership was important to keep medical care local for patients and for doctors to stay updated with medical research.
“I think decisions should be made locally, because the U.S government, for example, the larger the government the less the locals have control. It is in comparison of state controlled government or federal controlled government,” Santos said “I think in general people of the state would rather govern themselves than have federals control so in that instance I would say it is true, it is better to have local control than have national oversight. Though there is nothing wrong with having national recommendation.”
Santos said the partnership might indicate a new future for hospital networks and convergences nationwide.
“I think it is a good thing,” Dr. Santos said. “A lot of things are happening in medicine now; a lot of hospitals are converging, becoming larger networking hospitals. But one wonders if in the future that means network hospitals like Mayo Clinic or a hospital like ours will merge. So we will see.”