Gundersen Lutheran Health System: Performance Improvement Through Partnership

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Gundersen Lutheran Health System is a physician-led, not-for-profit integrated delivery system serving more than 550,000 people in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. Gundersen Lutheran has increased efficiency, improved patient care, and achieved the high performance associated with large urban institutions by: 1) using clinical and financial outcomes to set benchmarks and targets for improvement, to increase transparency, and to drive improvement among physicians; 2) investing in primary care and disease management programs; and 3) hiring engineers to improve operations. It offers leadership training programs that encourage cross-training and partnership within the institution and uses external collaborations to improve community health and extend its models of care and service to outlying communities. Gundersen Lutheran’s physician compact outlines the organization’s expectations of physicians and ensures that its medical staff remains committed to the organization’s mission: to distinguish itself in patient care, education, research, and community health


This study was based on publicly available information and self-reported data provided by the case study institution(s). The aim of Commonwealth Fund–sponsored case studies of this type is to identify institutions that have achieved results indicating high performance in a particular area of interest, have undertaken innovations designed to reach higher performance, or exemplify attributes that can foster high performance. The studies are intended to enable other institutions to draw lessons from the studied institutions' experience that will be helpful in their own efforts to become high performers. Even the best-performing organizations may fall short in some areas or make mistakes—emphasizing the need for systematic approaches to improve quality and prevent harm to patients and staff. The Commonwealth Fund is not an accreditor of health care organizations or systems, and the inclusion of an institution in the Fund's case study series is not an endorsement by the Fund for receipt of health care from the institution.

 

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Publication Details

Publication Date:
August 13, 2009
Authors:
Sarah Klein, Douglas McCarthy
Citation:

S. Klein and D. McCarthy, Gundersen Lutheran Health System:Performance Improvement Through Partnership, The Commonwealth Fund, August 2009.

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