Clinical Integration Network — Integris Health

In a recent interview, I asked Bruce Lawrence, the President and CEO of Oklahoma’s INTEGRIS Health system, to share about some of his organization’s current and future strategies.


Lawrence said, “What comes to mind is the work that we’ve been doing over the past year to develop a clinical integration network. Basically it’s a way to bring individual physicians to the table around a common goal in improving the quality of a population and decreasing the cost at the same time.” Lawrence explains that if they successfully reach their goal of increasing quality while reducing cost, the providers will benefit as the cost savings are shared among the physician providers, hospital providers and insurance companies.


INTEGRIS Health has seen a tremendous response from this market, Lawrence says. “No one else in Oklahoma is doing this right now. Some of our competitors are going with a strict employment model – actually moving towards what looks like a closed medical staff.” He explains that INTEGRIS Health’s strategy has been different; “We have a large number of employed physicians, and that number will continue to grow, but there is still a large number of doctors who want to remain independent and private but want and need to affiliate clinically – so that’s what we’re doing. We’ve got nearly six-hundred physicians signed up already.”


Lawrence acknowledges that the process is a lot of work, and INTEGRIS’s physician network is still very new; however, he explains, this is an organizational entity that’s physician led. “There is a physician governance board. The physicians are chairing all the committees. The physicians are deciding which doctors are in and which doctors are out.”


Lawrence is happy to say that the physicians are rising to the occasion, and that he’s seeing some real decision leaders starting to step up; “That’s one of the things I’m really excited about; as we move as an industry into a more integrated and less fragmented delivery process, and we have more physicians that are either employed or clinically integrated, we say to them ‘now you are a part of the decision making process, you are a part of the solution.’ I’m really seeing some of the physicians starting to step up and say ‘well, we’ve got some really strong ideas about this, and we want to work together with you to try to come up with those new solutions.’”


Lawrence explains that it is this type of engagement and involvement that is going to help the provision of healthcare become more precise with less chance for error and provide a greater opportunity to improve the health status of the people they serve.


What great perspectives from a highly successful healthcare leader! I’m certainly interested in seeing the results of INTEGRIS Health’s clinical integration network and seeing what other organizations will follow their example in the future.


Copyright © 2012 by Dan Nielsen, Founder

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