FL Health Systems Announce Partnership

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , October 15, 2010

"There is not a structure," he said. "Now that we have arrived at this it becomes management's responsibility, and we're required by our boards to figure out how we are going to manage this process. While we have ideas, if you ask for a specific staff that is doing A, B, C, or D today, it's not there. But those plans are being laid right now."

Hillenmeyer said the three institutions agreed on front-end guiding principals, and will sort out the details as the collaborative matures.

"Rather that try to figure it out on the front end and probably create barriers for getting things done, we'd rather say we've agreed to this and we are going to go about it," he said. "I can assure you we did not dream this up two weeks ago. This has been going on, parts of it, for several years. We just thought the time was right to go to both of our boards and to announce to the public that we are working together. As details on particular programs evolve, I'm sure there will be more activity."

Through the collaboration, Orlando Health physicians could receive faculty appointments, teach UF medical students or graduate medical trainees, or participate in UF-sponsored clinical trials.

The agreement could increase the use of Orlando Health as a training site for UF medical residents and fellows. The clinical faculty from UF's College of Medicine also could participate with Orlando Health medical staff on clinical services.

The alliance creates additional opportunities for the physician groups to work together to develop joint clinical protocols that will enhance quality and safety for patients.

More than 2.5 million Floridians across nearly 20 counties are served by the three health-care organizations.

With an eye towards healthcare reform mandates, the collaborative will develop compatible electronic medical information systems to ensure easy access to patient records. They hope to provide services ranging from primary care to the most complex, such as transplantation, and will share common values in education, research, and charitable care.

"We really do have an opportunity with this number of physicians and connected organizations to make some serious initiatives in delivery system reform, which is what healthcare reform is all about," Hillenmeyer says.

See Also:
Shands UF Hospitals to Restructure Leadership

University of Florida, Shands HealthCare announce $580M Collaboration

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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