A small but growing number of U.S. healthcare systems are creating international partnerships that capitalize on Americas reputation as a healthcare-standards bearer.
The arrangements are aimed at establishing a foothold in the increasingly global market for healthcare and, sometimes, at learning what foreign providers can teach the U.S. (See related story, p. 32.)
Earlier this month, Methodist International, a subsidiary of Methodist Hospital in Houston, announced it has signed an agreement with developer Emaar Properties, United Arab Emirates, to build, operate and manage several healthcare centers that will serve residents of Emaars housing communities in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
And in another collaboration, 260-bed Poudre Valley Health System, Fort Collins, Colo., and 25-hospital Providence Health & Services in Seattle will partner with six Israeli hospitalsChaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem and the Sanz Medical Center Laniado Hospitals geriatric center in Netanyaand two Palestinian hospitalsMakassed General Hospital in Beirut and Al France St. Joseph Hospital in Jerusalemto improve patient-safety best practices.
Lynn Schroth, chief executive officer of Methodist International, described her health systems work with Emaar as a large, encompassing partnership that will cover clinical quality and hospital-management services.
The initial agreement, according to Omar Al Shunnar, executive director of Emaars recently created healthcare subsidiary, calls for Methodist to develop and manage five Dubai-based family clinics, a hospital to be located at the Dubai Marina and an outpatient medical center at the Burj Dubai development. Three of the family clinics are targeted for completion by May 2009.
Financial terms of the management agreement have not been disclosed, but the deal calls for Methodist to consult on construction and capital-equipment purchases for the healthcare facilities, hire administrative staff, oversee accreditation and certification of the facilities and clinical staff, establish and implement best practices, and handle day-to-day management of the facilities. The model well use will translate our knowledge and expertise in a manner that is culturally appropriate, Schroth said. Well do that through a combination of key executives there onsite paired with their counterparts here at Methodist.
The two companies will further develop the agreement to include new healthcare facilities in Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey based on the success of the initial seven locations, Al Shunnar said in an interview. The partnership with Methodist is a joint effort to bring best practices and quality care to this side of the world, where the healthcare standards here havent quite caught up with those in the U.S.
Poudre Valleys U.S.-Israel patient-safety collaborative will get under way with meetings in Israel on Sept. 3 and 4, according to Rulon Stacey, president and CEO of Poudre Valley. The group plans to partner with U.S., Israeli and Palestinian hospitals based on improvement needs in the areas of healthcare-associated infections, pressure ulcers, adverse drug events and ventilator-associated pneumonia. We think some organizations perform better than others in some areas, so, for example, the hospital that has success in preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia would work with the one that needs help, and well see what progress can be made, Stacey explained.
Richard Norling, president and CEO of the group purchasing organization and healthcare-analytics company Premier, said a growing number of U.S. hospitals are entering into healthcare-quality partnerships with offshore providers. While Methodist will provide unilateral management services for its partner, many collaborations, like the one being launched by Poudre Valley, are as much about learning as teaching. Its not a one-way experience; its taking our expertise to others and coming back with a better understanding of best practices elsewhere, Norling said.
To that end, Premier will use a pay-for-performance program it is building for Englands North West Strategic Health Authority to launch a clinical goal-sharing initiative between U.S. and British hospital administrators. The clinical-performance project begins in October, but since January the GPO has hosted monthly calls between U.S. and British hospital officials in preparation of the launch.
The CEOs of the U.S. hospitals discuss their successes and experiences with the (Premier-managed) CMS pay-for-performance project, but the interesting piece of information is that because North West Strategic has one ambulance service and each patient is assigned to a primary-care doctor, theres a lot more opportunity for care coordination in England, Norling said. So, theres also some very interesting and useful information coming back.