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Transforming healthcare will give people a brand new way to get where they want to be

Transforming healthcare will give people a brand new way to get where they want to be

By Joe Mott, Vice President, Healthcare Transformation

Nov 12, 2014

Updated Jul 13, 2023

5 min read


The Oresund Bridge, which connects Denmark and Sweden, was called a “miracle of modern engineering.” The challenge: Transport trains and cars more than seven and a half miles across the Oresund Strait — without disrupting air travel, ship travel, and ice floes. The bridge’s completion in July 2000 followed years of complex and collaborative planning and construction between two countries. The result is a highly effective structure that carries more than 22 million people per year, which was built without tax money and is economically self-sustaining.

Intermountain Healthcare is building a bridge between the way healthcare has been provided in the past and the way it will be provided in the future. While we recognize much that’s good about healthcare in America, there are important ways it needs to change.  Despite the fact that we spend more than any other country, endangering the economic security of our nation, the healthcare Americans receive is of inconsistent quality. 

Most healthcare leaders and analysts recognize the importance of aligning incentives in ways that reward healthcare providers and patients for better health outcomes instead of the current rewards for simply doing more things — and especially more expensive things.  And we have great opportunities for improvement in helping people make healthier lifestyle choices and better manage their chronic illnesses.

Intermountain — which is widely known for demonstrating how improving clinical quality can reduce costs — and similar healthcare organizations are showing there’s a better way to provide care. We can’t look to the government as the overall solution to the challenges that face us. As a healthcare provider, we believe we have an obligation to the community to continually improve quality while managing the cost of care.

Intermountain is working to improve people’s health — not just their healthcare. We call our approach “Shared Accountability.” This approach helps us deliver 1) the best health for those we serve, 2) the best care for patients, and 3) affordable and sustainable costs.

Dozens of teams across Intermountain are using three key strategies to help us reach those goals:

1.   Using evidence-based care: Redesigning care through developing and consistently using best practices that are based on the best available evidence of their benefit to patients

2.   Engaging patients in their health and care choices

3.   Aligning financial incentives for everyone who has a stake in healthcare

Our approach is based on the idea that one of the best ways to improve America’s healthcare system is to help people stay healthy in the first place.

For example, we can focus on the best way to treat a heart attack, and the evidence may show one way that delivers better clinical outcomes and fewer complications, which also costs less. That’s good healthcare. But the optimal choice is to help people improve their lifestyles so they avoid the heart attack in the first place. That’s what Shared Accountability will help us do — and doing it on a community-wide basis is how it will help us transform healthcare.

In many ways, this is the most significant effort Intermountain has ever undertaken. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity. At the same time, our bridge to transform healthcare helps Intermountain remain firmly grounded on our core mission and vision. Our ultimate goal is to help people live the healthiest lives possible. Together, we have the opportunity — and the responsibility — to make a better healthcare system and give the gift of better health to those we serve.