OUR OPINION: A little bit of Rochester in Grand ForksThat’s the power of the Mayo Clinic, one of the strongest and best-respected brand names in health care in the world. Congratulations to Altru Health Systems for its newly announced partnership with Mayo.
By: Tom Dennis for the Herald, Grand Forks Herald
“Patients with pancreatic cancer typically have a poor prognosis,” as Wikipedia notes. That’s because patients with the dreaded cancer usually don’t start showing symptoms until the disease is far advanced.
And that’s why news of a new way to test for pancreatic cancer is so encouraging. Stool-sample analysis has turned up two markers for the disease, “and the markers were detected in patients who were at different stages of the disease or its location within the pancreas,” a MinnPost.com story reported.
Furthermore, “as the stool tests are not invasive, patients can collect samples themselves and send them to doctors without having to come in for an office or clinic visit.”
The place where this research was carried out? The Mayo Clinic. The date of the story above? Thursday — just another day at the office in Rochester, Minn., in other words.
That’s the power of the Mayo Clinic, one of the strongest and best-respected brand names in health care in the world.
Congratulations to Altru Health Systems for its newly announced partnership with Mayo. Congratulations to residents of the Red River Valley, many thousands of whom will benefit from this historic affiliation.
And congratulations as well to Mayo, which has found a worthy partner for this affiliation — the first of its kind for Mayo. Altru is expected to add a tagline about the affiliation to its corporate name, and so will become “the first health care facility not owned by Mayo Clinic to share part of the health care organization’s name,” Herald staff writer Ryan Schuster reported.
Mergers and ownership changes are common in health care these days, as clinics and hospitals seek new markets and economies of scale. But Altru has been reluctant to join the trend. The reason is that a full merger could pull neurosurgery, cardiac surgery and other specialized procedures to the bigger hospital out of town. That would force patients who need that work to travel to Fargo, Duluth or elsewhere.
And that, in turn, would lessen Altru’s role as a community-owned, community-centered hospital
The Mayo affiliation has the great advantage of avoiding that risk. Mayo clinicians still will be available for organ transplants and other ultraspecialized work. But for more routine procedures and consultations, Mayo will come to Altru, through videoconferencing, electronic exchanges of records and even Mayo clinicians visiting Altru to see patients and offer specialty clinics here.
Altru now faces a marketing challenge: How can it tell the region about the affiliation’s benefits? How can it spread the word that that through a first-of-its-kind partnership, Grand Forks formally offers Mayo Clinic-level care?
The pancreatic-cancer story referred to above ran Thursday. Here’s Sunday’s news, from a Mayo press release: “Advanced-stage prostate cancer patients experience 20-year survival rates with surgery, Mayo Clinic long-term follow-up shows.”
Somehow, spreading the news about a strengthened affiliation with the Mayo Clinic sounds like a pretty good health care business problem to have.
— Tom Dennis for the Herald