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Palomar Health joins forces with Mayo Clinic


Last updated 4/10/2014 at Noon

Michael Covert, president and chief executive officer of Palomar Health.

ESCONDIDO – More is usually better, especially when it comes to patient care. Now, thanks to a unique collaboration with the prestigious Mayo Clinic, Palomar Health patients are benefiting from access to more medical research and information, additional expert opinions on complex cases and experienced advice on hospital programs and protocols.

In December 2013, Mayo Clinic formally announced Palomar Health as a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a program designed to help people gain the benefits of Mayo Clinic knowledge and expertise close to home. As part of the Mayo Clinic

Care Network, Palomar Health physicians can use electronic care reference and collaboration tools that connect them directly to Mayo Clinic specialists, as well as Mayo’s latest research and treatment recommendations.

“Membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network not only

benefits the care provided to our patients, but it also facilitates improvements in practice on the part of our clinicians,” said Michael Covert, president and chief executive officer of Palomar Health. “Working with this network takes our health-care practice to a new level and validates the quality of our physicians here.”

Mayo Clinic established the network three years ago for like-minded organizations that share the goal of improving the delivery of health care in their communities. Palomar Health is the 24th member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and the first in California.

“For the past 150 years, Mayo Clinic has used a model

of care that brings teams of experts together to focus on the care of each individual patient,” said Wyatt Decker, M.D., Mayo Clinic vice-president and chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “We realized that Palomar Health is similarly aligned around patient care excellence and that shared focus is a key ingredient of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.”

The vetting process took nearly a year and involved a Palomar Health team visit to Mayo Clinic in Arizona and, later, several Mayo Clinic visits to Palomar Health.

“They don’t accept everyone,” said Covert. “You have to meet a level of practice that Mayo thinks is essential to strong collaboration.”

Membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network provides participating physicians with new tools and resources in specialty areas where Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise may be helpful. An eConsult provides direct connection with a Mayo Clinic physician, while “Ask Mayo Expert” offers access to a medical information database developed by Mayo specialists. The result is patients and physicians have greater peace of mind, and most care can remain local.

“Although we have great primary and specialty care at Palomar Health, sometimes we get unique cases which none of us see very often in our practices,” said orthopedic surgeon James Bried, M.D., who sought an eConsult for a challenging case. “Being part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network affords us the opportunity to connect with other physicians and share information on these problems to help bring the best quality care to patients,” he said.

While Palomar Health patients are not physically seen or treated by Mayo Clinic doctors, their local physicians can consult directly with Mayo specialists about complex care and best practices.

“By having access to more than 4,000 clinicians in the Mayo

Clinic (system), Palomar Health patients will realize that their physician is able to tap into another body of medical expertise,” said David Hayes, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. “This additional resource helps patients avoid unnecessary travel for additional medical opinions.”

Wyatt Decker, M.D., vice-president and chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

There is no additional cost to patients for the tools and services of the Mayo Clinic Care Network consultation. And patient privacy is always a priority. Anything shared with Mayo Clinic related to patient care is sent through a secure electronic connection and remains confidential.

Medical records are shared only with the patient’s consent.

“This is an exciting time for health care in our community,” said Della Shaw, chief clinical outreach officer of Palomar Health. “Membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network is a benefit to our patients and speaks volumes about what Palomar Health does on behalf of our community.”

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