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Case Study


HealthPartners: Consumer-Focused Mission and Collaborative Approach Support Ambitious Performance Improvement Agenda

HealthPartners is the nation's largest nonprofit, consumer-governed health care organization, providing health and dental care and coverage to more than 1 million individuals in Minnesota and surrounding states. Key factors driving HealthPartners' performance are a consumer-focused mission; a regional focus, scale, and scope integrating a broad range of services; strategic use of electronic health records to support care redesign; and a culture of continuous improvement. A comprehensive model for improvement includes setting ambitious targets for health system transformation; measuring what is important in order to optimize care; agreeing on best care practices and supporting improvement at the clinic level; aligning incentives with goals; and making results transparent internally and externally. HealthPartners' experience suggests that a nonprofit health plan market oriented to physician group practice—supported by collaborative measurement, improvement, and reporting structures—creates a community environment that helps each participant achieve objectives more effectively

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.

Publication Details



D. McCarthy, K. Mueller, and I. Tillmann, HealthPartners: Consumer-Focused Mission and Collaborative Approach Support Ambitious Performance Improvement Agenda, The Commonwealth Fund, June 2009.