In September, Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative learned it’s the highest-rated commercial health plan in Washington state—and in the top 50 nationally—in a new ranking by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. With more than 600,000 members and more than two dozen medical centers throughout Washington state, Group Health has become a destination for health care leaders from around the globe eager to learn more about its home-grown advancements in improving care while trying to keep down costs. Innovations such as electronic medical records—cited by President Obama as a way to reduce costs and improve care—allow patients to e-mail their doctors, order prescriptions, schedule their own appointments and access clinical information. Group Health’s touted medical home pilot program, a new model that harks back to earlier times, with a focus on a stronger relationship between patient and primary care physician, saved $10 per patient per month after nearly two years of operation and resulted in less physician burnout.
“Our medical home has become a nationally acclaimed model because we’ve integrated so much of what we’ve learned about caring for patients [over the past 60 years] into it,” says Group Health president and CEO Scott Armstrong, who this year was named one of the most powerful people in health care by Modern Healthcare. “We give our physicians, nurses and other clinical staff the time they need to advance the health of their patients.”
Published November 2010
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