Iowa Health System is now UnityPoint Health

You are probably aware that on April 16 Iowa Health System became UnityPoint Health. This is much more than a name change. It represents our systemwide focus – to surround the patient with care that is coordinated among family physicians and specialists, hospitals and home health care. It is a focus that is consistent with our vision to provide the “Best Outcome for Every Patient Every Time.”

Beginning in 2008 our leadership recognized a need for change. Health care delivery was fragmented, episodic and economically unsustainable. The health care industry had evolved to reward volume of care and not the quality of care. It had lost some of its focus on the health and well-being of the patient. As a result, people with diabetes, heart problems and other chronic diseases found themselves needing more and more health care services. The system was not designed to help these people live healthier. It was designed to treat them when they were sick.

Transformation to value

Our vision statement of “Best Outcome for Every Patient Every Time” provided direction for a transformation to value-based health care. It is a patient-centered model of delivering care that concentrates on coordinating a team around the patient to help them get healthy sooner and stay as healthy as possible. So they have a better quality of life and fewer episodes when their disease requires hospitalization. We think everyone can agree that it’s better to be healthy at home than to be ill in the hospital.

We have built a health care organization to support our vision. It is led by physicians affiliated with UnityPoint Health, including nearly 900 physicians and providers working in more than 280 UnityPoint Clinics. They are supported by state-of the art UnityPoint Health hospitals in eight regions in Iowa and Illinois and by our home health care enterprise, UnityPoint at Home.

Together, these UnityPoint Health affiliates will guide a transformation of care delivery that will strive to achieve:

The best clinical outcomes for our patients;

The best patient experience; and

The most affordable price.

Imagine the ability to connect patients with their primary care physicians before the onset of chronic conditions or before their conditions require admission to the hospital. Imagine wrapping a coordinated interdisciplinary team around a patient – a team focused on all aspects of the patient’s well-being. Imagine having a care navigator who regularly monitors the patient and can connect the patient in real time to whatever health care or community resources the patient needs.

Those capabilities are not in the distant future. They are real and they are working now in UnityPoint Health regions in Iowa and Illinois. Our physicians, hospitals and home care entities are leading a variety of care coordination innovations such as:

Advanced Medical Teams led by care navigators who work one-on-one with patients to assure patients understand and follow discharge instructions, keep medical appointments, address issues in the home that may hamper a patient’s recovery and connect patients with health care resources to better manage their health.

Reducing avoidable visits to the Emergency Room by helping frequent ER users obtain regular care from primary care physicians in the most appropriate settings.

The development and expansion of Palliative Medicine. Utilizing Palliative Medicine both in the inpatient and outpatient settings to work with chronically ill patients to identify their care goals and align health care services and treatments to achieve those goals.

Managing value-based Accountable Care Organizations serving more than 220,000 people, including one of the nation’s original Pioneer ACOs in our region, as well as ACOs serving the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Quad Cities and Waterloo regions.

A new day has come in health care. A unified team surrounding the patient with value. UnityPoint Health is more than a name. It is a reflection of our vision to deliver “The Best Outcome for Every Patient Every Time.”

Bill Leaver is president and chief executive officer of UnityPoint Health. Sue Thompson is president and chief executive officer of Fort Dodge-based Trinity Health Systems.