During the first Presidential debate of the 2012 election season earlier this week, President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney went to the mat to discuss – among other topics – the future of health care in the United States. Though the two have opposing views on how to reform and improve the way health care is delivered in the United States, they did agree that there is a need for streamlined care in order to help reduce costs and readmission rates.
One approach President Obama highlighted was collaboration between doctors. Instead of individual doctors ordering tests, Obama noted the benefits of a team approach, where doctors from multiple specialties meet to confer on each patient’s care. The collaborative approach, he said, helps prevent duplication of services, and provides preventive care.
Also earlier this week, the federal government began its new system for financially penalizing hospitals when too many patients are readmitted within a month of being discharged. Currently, nearly 20 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted within a month, which the government considers a prime symptom of an overly expensive and uncoordinated system.
Recognizing the need for integrated, one-stop-shop care, Penn Medicine has for years focused on implementing programs and facilities that are designed to promote inter-departmental planning and consultation. In fact, the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, which opened in 2008, was designed specifically to promote this type of care delivery. Last week, Penn Medicine took another step toward offering comprehensive care in one location when it broke ground on the Penn Center for Specialty Care (PCSC), a new 272,200 square-foot 11-story tower in University City at Market and 38th Streets that will provide patients with seamless care for same-day specialty consultations with a range of medical specialists.
Slated to open in mid-2014, one of the main features of the PCSC is the multidisciplinary Penn Musculoskeletal Institute, which brings together specialists from Penn Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine, Musculoskeletal Radiology and Good Shepherd Penn Partners (GSPP). The goal behind bringing providers from multiple disciplines under one roof is to offer integrated and collaborative musculoskeletal care to patients, and ultimately reducing the need for readmissions or duplicate testing.
An advanced and comprehensive radiology center will be located in the Penn Center for Specialty Care, directly adjacent to the Musculoskeletal Institute. This advanced radiology center will have services such as digital x-ray, computed tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) and ultrasound. Musculoskeletal radiologists will be on site for interdisciplinary collaborations to develop individualized treatment plans for musculoskeletal disorders.
Though our Presidential candidates may never agree on the best way to manage health care, when it comes to quality of care, Penn Medicine prioritizes a model that finds ways to bring together a variety of experts to tackle patient care.