Intermountain Clinical Programs – Improving Healthcare

By Kim Henrichsen

​Intermountain’s clinical programs have now implemented over 100 innovative, standardized approaches that define and coordinate best care for patients.​​

Sudden Cardiac Arrest
​Intermountain Healthcare is regularly included among America’s leading providers of affordable, high-quality healthcare. We work hard to ensure that our patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time—and our eight Clinical Programs are at the core of that aspiration.

Each of Intermountain’s Clinical Programs has the goal of identifying and implementing best practices, and is organized around a patient need. The Clinical Programs are:
  • Behavioral Health
  • Cardiovascular
  • Intensive Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pediatric
  • Primary Care
  • Surgical Services
  • Women & Newborns

“Each clinical program has an experienced team of physicians dedicated to analyzing and learning from both the medical literature and Intermountain’s own data on results and clinical practices,” explains Michael Porter, a highly respected Harvard Business School professor. “These teams train clinicians about new findings as well as assist them in implementing, improving, and updating best-practice treatments. The idea is to make the act of keeping current with the state of the art easy, expected, and normal.” 

Here’s an example: Sepsis (and septic shock) is a deadly condition where the entire body has an inflammatory response to bacteria or other germs. It is a leading cause of death in US hospitals; the mortality rate for people admitted with advanced sepsis is 50%. Intermountain’s Critical Care clinical program leaders undertook a systematic study of the literature and Intermountain’s own experience with sepsis. After an extensive team effort, they developed a “bundle” of coordinated treatments (including medications, tight blood sugar control, defined mechanisms to protect lung function, and others) which cut mortality dramatically – to a level 80% below the national norm. This approach saves money as well by shortening the time people spend in the hospital. The Intermountain approach is becoming the national standard for care for this very deadly and complex disease. 

Intermountain’s clinical programs have now implemented over 100 innovative, standardized approaches that define and coordinate best care for patients. We know we will always have room to improve, but we are committed and believe our Clinical Programs provide the structure to keep moving forward. Dr. John Mendelsohn, the President of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, told the New York Times Magazine, “Everybody is trying to systematically improve value and quality, but at Intermountain they have worked out the operational system and culture to do it.”