PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Bringing a world of medicine to its patients, St. Clair Hospital in the South Hills is partnering with the Mayo Clinic.
"Our interest was piqued because of the type of hospitals that are part of the network, and we wanted to be in that class of hospitals," says Dr. Alan Yeasted of St. Clair Hospital.
More than 40 hospitals take part in the Mayo Clinic Care Network across the U.S. and other countries.
"Mayo Clinic hopes that by affiliating with strong regional independent health care organizations, that it improves patient care," says Dr. David Hayes of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. "We think any time that physicians collaborate, it really raises the quality for all involved."
The two entities have worked together in areas such as laboratory studies, and as part of a regional network of hospitals.
"They knew us, we knew them," says Dr. Yeasted.
After 18 months of planning, St. Clair Hospital and the Mayo Clinic will have the ability to work together to bring excellent care to patients.
Through an electronic interface, doctors at St. Clair can consult experts at Mayo, participate in tumor board -- a type of patient case cancer conference, take advantage of educational opportunities, review steps and procedures in taking care of certain conditions, and even get input on operations and business models.
In the first day of formal partnership, already two consults have been placed -- one regarding radiation oncology and another about a tough cardiology case.
"I had a patient with a very complex, very rare valve condition, and she was very sick, and she had a lot of other high risk factors with her case," says Dr. Jeffrey Friedel, a cardiologist at St. Clair Hospital.
After providing a case summary, test results, and the clinical question, he got an answer within 24 hours.
"Something we may see in Pittsburgh only two or three times a year they're probably seeing it out in Mayo Clinic a dozen or two dozen times a year," he says.
Hospitals participate by subscription, based on hospital size and expected usage.
"This is entirely free to patients, insurers, employers. There's no cost at all to them," says Dr. Yeasted.
With this partnership, the Mayo Clinic expands its reach to more hospitals across the United States. The patients may not realize the staff at St. Clair Hospital is using the consultation services from Mayo, but the hope is that patient care is enhanced through collaboration and the Mayo Clinic's standards.
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