Celebrating 5 Years Of Mayo Clinic Care Network Membership

Launched in 2011, the Mayo Clinic Care Network extends Mayo Clinic’s world-renowned expertise and creates meaningful relationships with high-quality organizations that make a positive impact on the lives of patients.

Mayo Clinic Care NetworkAfter meeting Mayo Clinic’s rigorous qualification standards, St. Clair Health joined in 2016.

“St. Clair is a poster child for the model relationship we seek to build with healthcare providers,” says Dr. Mark V. Larson, Mayo Clinic Care Network Medical Director.

Second opinions from a Mayo Clinic specialist or subspecialist made a direct impact on St. Clair Health patients during the first year of the clinical collaboration.

“We have excellent physicians here at St. Clair. But sometimes experts need experts, and, the ability to get a fast second opinion (eConsult) directly from Mayo Clinic gives everyone in the room added confidence and peace of mind,” says Dr. G. Alan Yeasted, Chief Medical Officer, St. Clair Health in 2016 and now Chief Medical Officer Emeritus. “It’s all about advancing care for the people in the communities we serve.”

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Larson adds, “Rather than having to travel to get a second opinion, a patient is able to continue their ongoing care right there on the St. Clair campus—at no additional cost to the patient.”

In year two, continued collaborations helped lead to best practice development. Dr. John T. Sullivan, St. Clair Health’s Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, focused on elements that could help keep St. Clair ahead of the curve.

“From adopting cutting-edge changes in medical treatments to comparing office procedures and policies, a commonly heard question, ‘How does Mayo Clinic do it?’ often preceded an exchange of best practices.”

Results included the Patient Safety Program, where St. Clair adopted Mayo Clinic’s “5 Mindful Behaviors,” used in every patient interaction to ensure optimal outcomes, and the implementation of a Mayo Clinic-developed readmission risk score which stratified St. Clair’s patient population and automated the deployment of resources for patients at a high risk of complications. Additionally, St. Clair formalized the triad model for organizational performance improvement: Physician Led, Quality Integrated, Nursing Delivered.

“St. Clair has visionary leadership, extremely high standards of patient care, and they are very much aligned to our culture and goals,” says Dr. Larson.

Personalized medicine curated from patient genetics became the key theme of year three as part of Dr. Sullivan’s desire to continuously advance the institution.

“Patients have different responses to the same medications that we prescribe. Pharmacogenomics is a discipline whereby a physician can select and alter medication dosing based on an individual patient’s genes. A blood sample can be tested for a small number of a patient’s genes that metabolize medicine and allow for individualized treatment,” he says.

The global COVID-19 pandemic only strengthened the bond between Mayo Clinic and St. Clair. “In a rapidly-changing, high-stakes public health crisis, it was invaluable to be able to tap their deep resources and adopt their best practice policies and protocols to ensure patient and staff safety. Particularly valuable was being able to share their international expertise on vaccine safety and efficacy,” Dr. Sullivan says.

Dr. Larson adds, “The sharing of information centers around creating a relationship where you have someone in your corner. Doctors being able to communicate effectively and efficiently is paramount during times of crisis. We work together to exchange up-to-the-minute information that could benefit patients at both great speed and scale.”

Five years of seeking, sharing, and succeeding with standard utilization turned into programmatic integration in year five of the clinical collaboration.

“From the outset, we have been able to leverage the best of the best and having that direct access to Mayo Clinic has served as an instrumental resource for our patients and the institution as a whole,” says Meredith B. Dieffenbach, St. Clair’s Vice President, Operations and Strategic Management, who has played a key role in facilitating this relationship since its inception.

“Pharmacogenomics was the first step in our programmatic integration and we are very excited about additional programs in the works as it relates to neurosciences and other service lines,” she adds. “We look forward to continuing to bring the world-class expertise of Mayo Clinic to our patients in Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

With Mayo Clinic and St. Clair Health in complete concert to advance patient-centric precision medicine, there’s a feeling that they’re still just getting started. “We’ve had a great five years together, and we’re always looking to expand the acute services we provide to the communities we serve,” says Dr. Sullivan.

“The future of healthcare is evolving right in front of us,” adds Dr. Larson. “We are entering a really exciting new chapter in how to take care of patients in the hospital, at home, and in hybrid situations that will create optimized courses of treatment and advanced care for patients along their journey.”