Three healthcare organizations are partnering to advance pediatric care in Chicago, and possibly beyond.
UChicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, Advocate Children's Hospital and the pediatric division at NorthShore University HealthSystem today announced a new clinical collaboration—effective immediately—to enhance education and training for healthcare professionals, and also improve access to care and innovative therapies for young patients.
Chicago-based Comer joins the existing relationship between Evanston-based NorthShore and Advocate Children's, which has campuses in Oak Lawn and Park Ridge.
The collaboration between Advocate and NorthShore—which launched July 1—began taking shape shortly after the organizations called off their planned merger last year, said Mike Farrell, president of Advocate Children's and the organization's joint venture with pediatrics at NorthShore.
Leaders wanted to find a way for the systems to work together, and pediatrics was "the first thing that came to their minds," Farrell said. "It's just a different business relationship model … as you think about where health care is going, size and scale makes a real difference. And when we can aggregate the talent—primarily the physician talent—across the respective organizations, we have a greater propensity to" expand and diversify.
In addition to being integrated strategically and financially, the organizations' quality and safety programs align, he added.
Meanwhile, Comer has long collaborated with both organizations in rheumatology and general surgery. As an example, Dr. Jessica Kandel serves as surgeon in chief at Comer and division director of pediatric general surgery at Advocate Children's, said Dr. John Cunningham, physician in chief at Comer and chair of the pediatrics department at UChicago Medicine.
With many pediatric diseases affecting a small number of patients, collaboration provides a large enough patient population to test new therapies, said Cunningham. "If we all work in isolation, it's virtually impossible. But by bringing us all together, we will actually bring those therapeutics and diagnostics to the market and—most important—to the children much more rapidly."
That notion could lead to interstate partnerships moving forward, Farrell said, referencing leading pediatric organizations in cities like Cincinnati, Denver and Philadelphia.
"Children's organizations seem to always be very collaborative with each other because of who we care for," Farrell said. "Do we compete? Yes, we do. But we're always looking to find, what's the best thing we can do for the child that presents itself to us? If any one of us can't do it individually, we're going to find a way to do it collectively."
"UChicago, Advocate Children's and NorthShore partner on pediatrics" originally appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.