An integrated delivery system is a high functioning collaboration of affiliated providers and provider organizations (hospitals, health care centers, home health care agencies, etc.) who work together to deliver comprehensive, high quality and seamlessly coordinated care to meet patients’ needs.

The philosophy of truly integrated care delivery is that, regardless of where an individual or patient enters the health care system – whether it be via a primary care provider (PCP), a specialist provider, the Emergency Department, etc. – they will receive the same level of high quality, high value care from primary and specialty care providers who work together on behalf of the patient.

SolutionHealth’s commitment to truly integrated care delivery means that every patient will have easy, coordinated access to exceptional care with more advanced care available close to where they live, with added expertise of specialists from clinically affiliated academic medical centers like Massachusetts General Hospital.

The American College of Physicians defines “high value” care as health care that balances the clinical benefit to the patient against the costs and potential harm associated with that care, with the focus always on doing what is best for the patient.

SolutionHealth further defines high value care as optimally patient-centered care that gives patients the care they need in order to have the best outcome and experience possible. Success in delivering high value primary and specialty care means that every patient has easy and affordable access to everything they need to achieve, maintain or restore health, when, where and how they need it.

Across SolutionHealth, this means making sure we have enough well-trained primary care providers to meet our communities’ needs. Primary care providers work with patients to identify health risks, mental or behavioral health challenges and chronic disease concerns, and also facilitate support from the clinical specialists and health resources necessary to empower patients to achieve the best possible outcomes.

ACOs, or Accountable Care Organizations, are groups of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.

Quality is defined by The Institute of Medicine as “the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.”

When we discuss quality in health care, we are often discussing statistical measures of how health care is delivered to patients. Such measures include patient safety, timeliness of care, how effective care is and how efficiently care is delivered. Data are collected and analyzed to report on these measures and show how a health care organization achieves the best possible health outcomes for patients.

An easy way to assess quality is by utilizing the Hospital Compare feature on the U.S. Government Site for Medicare. This tool allows patients to compare hospitals based on their overall star rating, which is a composite of more than 100 measures of how well a hospital performs when providing care. The more stars a hospital has, the better they perform, on average, compared to other hospitals.

SolutionHealth relies on a wealth of data and resources to help us remain focused on current, emerging and anticipated health care needs in our communities.

SolutionHealth has clinical and administrative leaders who work with local community health professionals (City of Nashua Division of Public Health, City of Manchester Health Department) to collect data on the health needs in our communities and to lead and collaborate on plans that help address those needs.

Likewise, we rely on data and information from more than 700 providers across SolutionHealth who are the front line observers of and advocates for their patients’ needs. We utilize the data collected and shared by our providers to evaluate trends and needs that reflect not only health issues in our communities, but also barriers and challenges that may prevent individuals from getting what they need, when and where they need it.

We are focused on a diverse range of community needs – from shortages of behavioral health specialists and programs to the needs of our aging population of baby boomers. We are working with state and local officials to improve access to much-needed treatment programs for individuals struggling with mental health challenges. We are also developing clinical collaborations between Elliot Health System and Southern New Hampshire Health that allow local residents to have easier access to specialists in dermatology, digestive disorders and cardiovascular care.

SolutionHealth providers and staff continue collaborating with local organizations and community health professionals to address social determinants of health and ensure that our communities are social and physical environments that promote health and well being for all.

SolutionHealth was established on a vision of collaboration. Such collaboration includes forging the partnerships, alliances and relationships that can truly change the health of a community one patient at a time.

Clinically, we are working on collaborative clinical partnerships that will allow individuals to get easy, local access to advanced specialty care that might otherwise require travel outside the region. For instance, rather than having patients travel to Boston for an advanced cardiology procedure, SolutionHealth might leverage our exceptional clinical expertise and technological innovation in order to offer the same procedure locally and more cost effectively. The ability to meet specialized needs and improve patient outcomes in an area like cardiology helps drive down the cost of care by providing quality care and ease of access.

Innovative models of care and collaboration are also reflected in our work with community health partners, such as Safe Stations in Manchester and Nashua. Our collaboration with first responders ensures patients struggling with substance use disorders get what they need to not only survive, but also to access appropriate treatment options close to home.

Finally, we are working with partners like Massachusetts General Hospital to evolve clinical collaborations that will ensure that patients in need of highly specialized care will have easy access to advanced clinical specialists at one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers.

Integration is the act of using collaboration to achieve efficiencies and leverage the talents and commitment of all of our employees.

One example of what we mean when we talk about “integration” is the elimination of redundant “back-up” technology. Two hospitals may each have a piece of back-up technology in case the primary device breaks down. Each back-up device is rarely utilized but is expensive to maintain. Integration allows us to rely on each other’s resources when necessary, which therefore allows us to eliminate one piece of redundant equipment and reinvest that savings in new technology to improve quality care in another area.

For staff, integration means deepening the collaboration within departments and teams to share information on best-practices and professional development. Integration allows staff to cross-train and learn new skills that are part of healthcare delivery in an era when knowledge, technology and clinical advances make every employee necessary.

While SolutionHealth can’t readily lower the amount of money an individual must pay for healthcare services, we are passionately engaged as responsible advocates for and representatives of our patients’ need for affordable access to high quality care. We fully realize the burden of healthcare costs on patients and families who seek our care. High premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses place an extraordinary strain on healthcare consumers. As non-profit entities, we are accountable to the communities we serve, as well as government and regulatory agencies, to always provide high value care.

In addition to our emphasis on value-based healthcare, we embrace price transparency and support patients and consumers in having access to information that helps them make decisions about their care. We are dedicated to empowering patients and families to make decisions based on quality and a clear understanding of what “cost of care” means.

The phrase “health care costs” means different things to different people in different situations.

For health care organizations, cost is the expense of delivering healthcare services to patients. For patients, cost is the out-of-pocket expense for visits, lab tests, and other healthcare services. Though related, these two types of health care costs are very different. 

The cost of delivering healthcare services varies from organization to organization. Health care organizations have an itemized list of set prices for services, which is known as a “chargemaster.” Prices are set by each health care organization based on multiple factors, including market trends and overhead costs, such as the cost of employing staff and maintaining advanced medical technology.

While an organization’s chargemaster means that all patients are charged the same amount for the same service, each patient’s out-of-pocket financial responsibility varies depending on the severity of illness and type of treatment provided. A patient’s financial responsibility is also dependent on their insurance coverage and the negotiated contract between their insurance plan and the health care organization where care is delivered.