Healthcare Innovation, Right Here in Springfield


am so proud of Baystate Health. Earlier this month, we hosted the national summit of the Premier PACT Population Health Collaborative right here in Springfield. The population health collaborative is a group of 40 health systems that have come together to transform healthcare in the U.S. and deliver the highest quality of care at affordable costs.

As health systems are no longer paid by volume and are increasingly paid in global budgets, how to manage the health of the whole population becomes important. So important in fact that over 270 people gathered at the two-day conference to share strategies on improving the organization and delivery of population health care.

Drs. Mark Keroack, Stephen Sweet, and I had the pleasure to share Baystate’s ongoing and future innovations including our roadmap for population health: to better manage chronically ill patients; improve the quality for high-risk procedures; manage our patients in skilled nursing facilities; and use data to risk stratify our patients.

Participants were given the opportunity to experience our innovations first-hand by touring these Baystate locations:

  • TechSpring, The Baystate Health Technology Innovation Center
    Participants saw real-world innovations including new data analytics to better understand our patients; home monitoring devices to obtain data on our patients’ clinical condition; and technology for electronic medical visits.
  • The Baystate Medical Practices Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and the specialty neighborhood ambulatory center in Northampton
    Participants saw new ways to have comprehensive and coordinated care between primary care physicians and specialists.
  • The Davis Family Heart And Vascular Center
    Participants learned about the “bundled payment” for the clinical improvement (BPCI) program, in which the hospital and physicians work together to improve care and lower costs for our coronary artery bypass graft surgery patients over a 90-day episode of care.

Beyond Baystate, the PACT Summit provided a forum for healthcare leaders throughout the U.S. to share their own innovations. One particularly informative discussion demonstrated the benefits of incorporating “shared decision-making” into medical practices: to improve patient engagement and patient expectations, and lower the cost of care.

Others shared some of the exciting work that is being done to improve end-of-life care. Palliative and hospice care is taking on increasing significance as we work to improve care throughout the entire continuum. Baystate’s palliative care program has been growing and we are starting to see our patients improve their end-of-life decision making. At the conference, we learned how other health systems have created new ways to engage patients in the palliative process.

There were presentations on what other systems are doing to adapt to the new payment models—global payment, bundled payments—and how the care models are rapidly changing to meet the new incentives in payments. Pivoting away from fee-for-service payment is definitely a journey and we are seeing the pace quicken nationally.

The conference was truly a success. The feedback was extremely positive and we all learned a great deal. We were so proud to host so many healthcare leaders and highlight what Baystate has done right here in Western Massachusetts to improve the care for our community.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions,

Evan M. Benjamin, MD