Officials from William Bee Ririe Hospital announced a new partnership with Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health Care that will extend the resources of the No. 1 ranked academic medical center in the country to Ely and the surrounding communities. The agreement formalizes a strong relationship of collaboration between the two health care providers.
The agreement sets the stage for William Bee Ririe to provide improved patient access for medical specialties like cardiology, stroke and burn care. Stroke and burn care will now be accessible to residents through TeleHealth services, the use of technology to deliver health care.
TeleHealth will allow patients at William Bee Ririe to access specialty care from physicians at University of Utah Health Care via videoconferencing, phone, and other means of Telecommunication. It also allows William Bee Ririe physicians to discuss patient treatments and diagnoses with the team at University of Utah Health Care so patients do not have to travel to Salt Lake City unless absolutely necessary. Leadership is exploring other opportunities for Telehealth services as needed in the community.
University of Utah Health Care officials are optimistic that the partnership will position both organizations for success in a rapidly evolving health care environment. “Inherent in our mission as a teaching hospital is our responsibility to share clinical best practices, research advances, and provide our community partners with the educational resources we’ve developed as a university,” said Ted Kimball, M.D., director of TeleHealth Services at University of Utah Health Care. “We want to be a resource to improve the health and well-being of residents across the West and we can now accomplish that through the use of TeleHealth services.”
The agreement also offers William Bee Ririe the opportunity to benefit from the work the University of Utah is doing around staff development and business efficiency. This partnership will allow William Bee Ririe to take advantage of both the educational opportunities and operating efficiencies associated with a large, academic medical center.
Gordon Crabtree, interim CEO of University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, says the partnership makes sense because both organizations share a commitment to providing high quality care.
“We recognize that no one wants to leave his or her community when they get sick. The goal of this partnership is to enhance William Bee Ririe’s ability to serve the residents in the region with high quality care and better access to specialty care not currently available,” he said.
“The University of Utah’s health system is well known and respected. Vizient Inc. (formerly the University HealthSystem Consortium) has ranked University of Utah Health Care as the nation’s #1 academic medical center in quality, safety and accountability ahead of NYU and Mayo Clinic. With this affiliation we will be able to learn from and lean on the vast knowledge of the “U” right here in Ely. This partnership will expand services we are able to offer and fortify our commitment to high quality and compassionate care,” said Matthew Walker, CEO of William Bee Ririe Hospital and Rural Health Clinic.
Both organizations emphasize the affiliation does not change ownership, local control and governance, or restrict patient choice in providers.