SOURCE: HealthEast Care System

HealthEast Care System

HealthEast Care System

May 19, 2010 04:13 ET

HealthEast Care System Wins "Innovation of the Year in Patient Care Award 2010" From Minnesota Hospital Association

ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwire - May 19, 2010) -  HealthEast Care System was awarded the Innovation of the Year in Patient Care (large hospital category) by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) on May 14, 2010 for its Care Navigation Strategy which works to avoid unnecessary patient readmissions. Under the system, nurse "transition coaches" provide post-discharge care coordination and education regarding follow up and warning signs at the patients' homes so that patients are better able to advocate for themselves.

Results have shown a positive effect on all three Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) goals for better quality outcomes, reduced costs and increased patient satisfaction. The navigation system is also helping to identify and reduce medication discrepancies at home, which enhances individual experiences and controls the total cost of care while patients move along a care continuum. This approach -- which offers multiple, integrated components to surround patients with customized care -- helps to positively impact the lives of all patients, especially the chronic or complex critical ones.

The honor was one of 18 individual and group awards bestowed by the MHA, located in St. Paul. The organization's annual program recognizes caregivers, administrators and others whose contributions kept the bar high at Minnesota hospitals last year. HealthEast's Care Navigation Strategy was deemed to be highly effective in achieving its stated purpose and applicable to other hospitals in communities nationwide.

HealthEast's efforts exemplify the kind of first-rate attention to quality that Minnesota hospitals are known for, said MHA President and CEO Lawrence Massa.

"Minnesotans are fortunate to have organizations like HealthEast Care System that consistently lead the nation in innovation, quality and patient safety," he said. "They take great pride in striving for excellence and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement."

HealthEast has based its work on the staggering changes occurring in our environment, including explosive growth in our 85+ population; a shift away from hospital care to chronic care; and impending reform around reimbursement. The Care Navigation strategy was born from HealthEast Home Care's "Clinical Needs of the Aging" study and is the first system wide initiative to be launched by the HealthEast Quality Institute. 

Craig Svendsen, MD, HealthEast Chief Medical Quality Officer and Mary Pynn, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, are co-executive sponsors of this strategy in consultation with Cathy Barr, Vice President and CEO of Bethesda Hospital. Rahul Koranne, MD, Medical Director, Bethesda Hospital, is the strategy's physician lead and Pennie Viggiano, HealthEast System Director, Government and Special Populations, is the strategy's operational lead.

Dr. Koranne, who accepted the award on behalf of HealthEast, said the recognition reflects many years of important work rooted in a strong commitment to caring for the whole patient across the entire care continuum.

"HealthEast understands that the hospital of the future truly needs to be a part of the community with transparent walls and open doors and windows so that patients may transition smoothly from their community and back again. We have been working hard on Care Navigation since 2006, long before the IHI triple aims were coined, and long before the state and federal reform initiatives took their present shape. We started on this journey because being patient-centered is HealthEast's mission."

In 2009, HealthEast's Care Navigation Strategy was also named an Innovation of the Year from HealthPartners.

For details of all the awards which were presented at the MHA dinner, including photos of winners, please visit

HealthEast Care System is a community-focused, non-profit health care organization that provides innovative technology, compassionate care and a full spectrum of family health services. HealthEast includes Bethesda Hospital, St. John's Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, and Woodwinds Health Campus as well as outpatient services, clinics, home care, and medical transportation services. Practicing financial responsibility, HealthEast is the largest, locally-owned health care organization in the Twin Cities' East Metro with 7,300 employees, 1,200 volunteers and 1,400 physicians on staff.

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