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Atrius Health and BIDMC

New Relationship Benefits Patients

Atrius Health, the state's largest independent physicians group (comprised of affiliates Dedham Medical Associates, Granite Medical, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Southboro Medical Group and South Shore Medical Center ) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have expanded their relationship to establish a new model of health care delivery, better serving area patients.

Beginning in January, Harvard Vanguard internists at three Boston locations began referring patients who needed emergency care or hospitalization to BIDMC. Over time, the Atrius Health network of 800 doctors will also send patients needing complex cardiovascular and cancer care, as well as other surgical specialties, to Beth Israel Deaconess. After receiving advanced care at the hospital, patients will continue with their original Atrius Health physician for follow-up. The goal of this model is to improve collaboration between the referring doctor and the hospital. This model is better for patients because it delivers the appropriate care in the appropriate setting, and is often more convenient. Better coordination also decreases the cost of care.

One such way our two organizations are improving collaboration and coordination of patient care is through the linking together of the BIDMC and Atrius Health electronic medical record (EMR) systems. All Atrius Health clinicians now have secure, one-click access to the BIDMC records of their patients. This provides a new level collaboration between our organizations that extends from the offices of Atrius Health physicians to the hospital.

"I am very pleased with the new relationship," says Dr. Pascale Carbonara, a Harvard Vanguard internist at the Kenmore practice in Boston. "The system put in place to communicate patient information has meant high quality care with no waste of resources on unnecessary tests."

Some policy experts have called this collaborative approach the wave of the future. Dr. Amy Boutwell of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement told the Boston Globe, "these organizations and others like them are at the leading edge of taking up the challenge of improving care."

Learn more about ATRIUS >>

BIDMC and Red

Hit a Home Run For Health

Red Sox Opening Day is just around the corner and the team is already hard at work training for what all Sox fans hope will be a great season. But even trained athletes have to deal with injuries.

Now you can follow the Red Sox progress all season and learn about some common health issues players deal with on the BID Injury Report on Longtime Boston sports reporter Gary Gillis teams up with BIDMC doctors, nurses and physical therapists to bring you insight into health issues impacting the players and tell you what you need to know to stay in shape like a major leaguer.

"Great athletes make it look easy, but every one of them has had to work incredibly hard to make it to the top of their profession. And even harder to stay there," says Gillis. "Since I began writing this column, I have an even greater appreciation for the medical teamwork that goes into keeping them on the field, and keeping the rest of us in the game." 

New columns appear each week throughout Sox season.

As Spring Heats Up, Studies Show
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers On The Rise

Both new diagnoses and a history of non-melanoma skin cancer appear to have become increasingly common, and the disease affects more individuals than all other cancers combined, according to a number of new published studies.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common malignant disease in the United States, according to background information in one of the articles. The disease is associated with substantial illness and cost, and a death rate that is lower than other cancers but still significant. However, non-melanoma skin cancer is not typically reported to cancer registries, and the most recent peer-reviewed, published national estimates date back to 1994. "Understanding skin cancer incidence and treatment is important for planning prevention strategies and allocating resources for treatment," the authors write.

In one article, Robert S. Stern, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, developed a mathematical model to estimate the prevalence of non-melanoma skin cancer in 2007. "This model used age-specific incidence data adjusted to reflect changes in incidence from 1957 to 2006, the age distribution of the population from 1957 to 2006 and the likelihood that an incident tumor was the first ever for that person," Dr. Stern writes.

Based on the model, Dr. Stern estimates that approximately 13 million white, non-Hispanic Americans had had at least one non-melanoma skin cancer by 2007. About one in five 70-year-olds have had non-melanoma skin cancers, and most who were affected have had more than one. "The prevalence of a history of skin cancer is far higher than that of any other cancer and exceeds that of all other cancers diagnosed since 1975," and is about five times higher than that of breast or prostate cancer, he writes.

In all the researchers from the combined studies estimate that in 2006 there were more than 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancers in the United States and that approximately 2.1 million patients were treated for the disease.

"There is an epidemic of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States, as illustrated by comparison with the previously published estimates and the 4.2 percent yearly average increase in cases in the Medicare population from 1992 to 2006," the authors conclude. "To date, educational programs emphasizing sun protection have mainly been disappointing in slowing skin cancer rates. In the face of ongoing increases in skin cancer incidence, continued national research and programs on treatment, education and prevention are critical."

The studies are published in the March issue of Archives of Dermatology.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted March 2010