'In our case, what we have created with this establishment of Allegheny Health Network with Highmark is arguable the second- or third-largest integrated delivery system in the United States. We quickly move up to the top of the list in terms of size and scope,' Winkenwerder said.
'What that creates, that integration, is an opportunity for clinicians and clinical leaders to work hand in glove with those that finance care for the population when planning things so that there is less duplication and there is better placement of services for the entire population that it serves. Right off the bat you have the opportunity to plan things more efficiently and effectively and with less redundancy.'
'At the patient care level when you have these cooperative entities working together, and that is the key, a cooperative relationship and attitude, there is the opportunity to make the patient care experience better and take some of the hassle and redundancy out of what people typically experience today.'
Highmark's provider division leader John Paul, who was named president/CEO of the new network, said the integrated care model is needed because 'obviously the current system hasn't worked very well.'
'The core of the problems we have as a country is the fact that care is so fragmented,' Paul told reporters. 'Care traditionally has been physician- and facility-focused. With modern technology and information technology, our focus is going to be on prevention and wellness as well as bringing people together to the extent that we can in one location to receive all their care, and when they can't receive it in that location to connect those clinicians and a record of their clinical services through an information technology backbone that can be transmitted internationally, not just locally.'