Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center's Third Policy Forum Identifies Key Components to Improve the Coordination of Medical Care

For Release

March 8, 2007

Patient-Centered, Coordinated Care the Key to Improved Health Care System

Santa Monica, CA (March 8, 2007) — Patients should be at the center of the health care system and have the right to coordinated, quality care, says a consensus statement of more than 25 health care policy experts who gathered this week in Santa Monica for a health policy forum on the integration of care. The forum, held at the RAND Corporation, is part of the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center's nationwide initiative to shape the future of health care by uniting many voices into one.

“We all agree that patients are not well-served by a fragmented delivery system, and we recognize that coordinating care is key to improving quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction,” says Robert Smoldt, executive director, Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center.

Smoldt presented an example of a liver transplant patient who interacted with 75 health care personnel over the course of a 5-day hospitalization. “It is a real challenge to get all these people working together for the patient,” he says. “If we don't, there is a real risk of medical errors and bad outcomes.”

“It is even more challenging to integrate care over the course of a patient's lifetime,” says Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D, associate director, RAND Health and co-host of the forum. “Payment systems currently reward fixing health problems, not preventing them, and that has to change if we really want to improve people's health.”

After a day and a half of debate, participants arrived at four guiding principles that would encourage providers to better work together on behalf of patients:

  • Patients must be at the center of the care system and have the right to coordinated quality care.
  • The goal of the delivery system is to improve the health of the population.
  • The finance system must be changed to achieve substantive health care reform.
  • Patients should have information, a personal relationship, involvement and control over what happens to them within the health care system.

Participants representing many sectors – providers, health plans, employers, patient advocacy and academia – contributed to the formation of the action principles.

For more information about the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center and its initiatives, visit

RAND Health is a division of the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. RAND Health is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on quality, costs and delivery, among other topics. For more information, visit

About RAND

RAND is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.