Marshfield Clinic is a not-for-profit, physician-governed multispecialty group practice serving residents of rural Wisconsin through a regional ambulatory care system, an affiliated health plan, and related foundations supporting health research and education. Marshfield has engaged its physicians and staff in a program of clinical performance improvement aimed at enhancing patient access, coordination of care, and efficiency of clinical operations. An internally developed electronic health record acts as a care planning tool for delivering preventive care and managing chronic diseases. A telemedicine network expands access to care for patients living in rural and remote areas. Marshfield Clinic’s experience shows how an organized group of physicians can improve patient outcomes and reduce costs by undertaking a population-based approach to ambulatory care management supported by robust information technology. It also suggests that group-level performance incentives that are aligned with an organization’s strategic goals have the potential to enhance population health management.
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.