Leaders of France’s national healthcare system come to Intermountain Healthcare to learn how to deliver higher-quality healthcare more efficiently

Terri Draper

 (435) 251-2108

 terri.draper@imail.org

 8/9/2013

>The latest government leaders to come to Intermountain Healthcare to see how we provide high-quality healthcare for the lowest sustainable costs aren’t from Washington — they’re from France. Three senior leaders from France’s national healthcare system came to Utah this summer to visit Intermountain and study the state’s public and private healthcare delivery system.


Much like the U.S., France is struggling to increase equal access to care, control quickly rising healthcare costs, and improve quality. They’re also searching for ways to reduce waste and over-utilization, improve patient safety, and better serve an aging population. They visited Utah, and Intermountain, because Utah has both excellent quality care and the lowest healthcare costs in America — and Intermountain, as the leader in quality improvement, has the lowest costs in Utah. 

Pascal Briot, a member of Intermountain Healthcare’s Institute for Healthcare Delivery Research and a native of France, served as a guide for the delegation during their time in Utah. The group visited five Intermountain hospitals — Dixie Regional, Valley View, Garfield, McKay-Dee, and Primary Children’s hospitals — and met with leaders from SelectHealth and Intermountain’s central office. They also went to the governor’s office, the University of Utah Hospital, and the VA Hospital.


Some of the things that impressed the French delegation:
  • The integration of Intermountain’s system and the continuum of care we offer our patients. They liked how we offer care across the entire spectrum, including wellness initiatives. They’d like to copy our LiVe Well program.
  • Intermountain’s role in public health in Utah. They were impressed with how Intermountain works well with the University of Utah and other healthcare systems to help all Utahns access quality healthcare no matter where they live.
  • The coordination between insurance and healthcare providers. They were impressed by the collaborative model Intermountain and SelectHealth have developed.
  • Healthcare changes are coming from the inside out. They saw that Utah appears to be in the midst of building a very good population management system and Intermountain and other systems in the state are driving the change. It’s the complete opposite in France, where the government is trying to force the industry to change — with limited success.
  • Rural hospitals like Garfield Memorial Hospital ensure good access to residents of isolated communities. Garfield is able to offer excellent basic care and refer more complicated cases on to Valley View or Dixie Regional in a coordinated way.
  • Even smaller hospitals like Valley View have excellent facilities and services. They were especially impressed by Valley View’s beautiful cancer center, which offers a wide range of services despite its location in a smaller town.
  • The hospitals in Intermountain’s Southwest Region have a great setup for better patient flow. They liked how patients can easily access services from centralized waiting areas instead of getting lost in a maze of corridors.
  • Patient care areas didn’t feel overly crowded or chaotic. The staff didn’t appear overwhelmed and seemed to have time to provide unrushed quality care to each patient. They said the feeling was far less stressful than what they’re used to in France.
  • We’re doing great things to increase quality and reduce costs. At Dixie Regional they were very interested in efforts to decrease physician practice variation, manage staffing, and reduce costs per case. They were also interested in Intermountain’s electronic medical record system.

“The French group was incredibly happy with what they were able to learn here,” Pascal says. “They were very impressed with what they saw in Utah and especially at Intermountain Healthcare. They’re now busy preparing a report of their findings, which they plan to present to French legislators and healthcare leaders later this year.”

“We’re grateful for the opportunity we had to come to Utah,” says Pierre-Henri Bréchat, MD, PhD, the leader of the French delegation. “We’d be very delighted to develop future partnership projects with Intermountain Healthcare.”
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