MedStar Health and West Health Institute to Catalyze New Care Delivery Models and Innovative Solutions

‘Project Aims To Make High-Quality Healthcare More Accessible At A Lower Cost’

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute and MedStar Health, the largest not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region, announced a broad collaboration agreement today.

The goal of this unique relationship is for the West Health Institute and MedStar to jointly cultivate new ideas and approaches, including the potential development of innovative solutions, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost. As part of the collaboration agreement, MedStar, with its system of 10 hospitals and multiple ambulatory sites, may serve as the primary clinical research site for a variety of care delivery and payment reform models, leveraging its wide range of clinicians and experts to inform, and potentially implement, the new initiatives. In addition, the MedStar Institute for Innovation includes a Center for Innovation in Healthcare Delivery.

“It is essential to have a space where innovators and entrepreneurs can experiment with and test new operating methods. The collaboration between the West Health Institute, MedStar Health and the MedStar Institute for Innovation has allowed us to take a groundbreaking step that will lead the way to truly bending the healthcare cost curve,” said Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer and entrepreneur in residence at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Today’s announcement also kicks off an in-depth review of MedStar’s nationally recognized Medical House Call Program (MHCP) model to identify the key levers that will catalyze the growth of home-based primary care for the frail elderly. The efforts will specifically target an understanding of the factors that impact scaling, spreading and sustaining such models of care and how barriers to such activity can be mitigated.

In the current issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, Eric De Jonge, MD, co-founder of MHCP and director of geriatrics at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, reports his findings that home-based care of frail elders reduced Medicare costs by 17 percent during a two-year study period.

“MedStar’s innovative care model has the potential to bring improved care at a lower cost to those who need it most. Our hope is to identify and solve the significant challenges associated with caring for some of the sickest elderly patients,” said Nicholas J. Valeriani, chief executive officer of the West Health Institute. “Expanding a home-based care program nationwide to bring comprehensive, high-quality care to seniors in their homes — at costs far lower than care provided in hospitals — could help transform the way healthcare is delivered.”

Mark Smith, MD, director of the MedStar Institute for Innovation, said, “The vision of the MedStar Institute for Innovation, which acts as a catalyst and seed crystal for innovation across the entire MedStar organization, is to address the challenges in healthcare today by inventing the future. Joining forces with the West Health Institute allows us to meet that charge with the full force of two highly complementary and forward-thinking institutions. Neither one of us can get where we need to be by looking inward. To paraphrase an African proverb: If you want to go fast, travel alone; if you want to go far, travel together.”

The initial eight-month research project will be led by Nag Murty, who has been bringing new ideas and expertise into HHS programs through his role as the West Health Institute’s Innovator-in-Residence at HHS since 2013. Murty will be working with MedStar’s De Jonge and Smith, as well as clinical and innovation teams from both organizations.


About West Health Institute

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute is an independent, nonprofit medical research organization that works with healthcare providers and research institutions to create new, more effective ways of delivering care. We’re wholly funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West as part of West Health, four organizations with a common mission—pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans.

Along with the Institute, West Health includes the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, a nonprofit resource in Washington, D.C., providing policy education and proposals; and the for-profit Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and West Health Incubator, providing investments and expertise to businesses that share our mission. For more information, find us at www.westhealth.org and follow us @westhealth.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

About MedStar Institute For Innovation (MI2)

MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) was chartered in 2009 by Ken Samet, President and CEO of MedStar Health. MI2 serves as a catalyst and seed crystal for innovation across the entire MedStar organization. Its mission is to catalyze innovation that advances health, and it does so by helping MedStar “think differently” (the MI2 mantra) about challenges faced and opportunities presented. MI2’s foundational premises are that MedStar possesses a huge amount of untapped creative and intellectual energy, and that the tyranny of the daily trumps the pursuit of the remarkable …in the absence of a countervailing force (which is what MI2 aspires to be). MI2 has ongoing initiatives in human factors & usability, simulation training & education, digital & personalized health, technology invention & commercialization, systems of care delivery, and the application of influence & complexity science.