Martha's Vineyard Hospital : MGH chief highlights future of high-quality care
Three years ago, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital officially became an affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare.
At the time, Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of the Massachusetts General Hospital, said that the relationship would ensure that patients and families who live on or visit the Island would have access to the full spectrum of high-quality health care services available at the famed Boston teaching hospital.
Dr. Slavin has been the president of Massachusetts General Hospital since 2003. He teaches internal medicine and health care management at Harvard Medical School, where he is a professor of health care policy, and he lectures widely on health care topics.
On the occasion of the opening of the new Martha’s Vineyard Community Hospital, The Times invited Dr. Slavin to discuss the affiliation, and what seasonal and year-round Island residents, the people who helped build this new $42 million facility, should expect from the partnership going forward.
In 2007, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) welcomed Martha’s Vineyard Hospital into the Partners HealthCare family, and since then the relationship has continued to flourish. Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has long been a cherished resource to the Island community, delivering high-quality care to residents and visitors since 1921. The recent affiliation with the MGH has enabled Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to extend its tradition of excellence even further, as providers on Island and mainland work together to do whatever it takes to provide patients and families the care and compassion, services and support they need.
One of the most critical tools for ensuring and sustaining this seamless, high-quality care is the use of a shared electronic medical record. Mindful of the benefits of having vital, real-time medical information right when it is needed, Partners HealthCare has invested significant resources to create an information system that links providers throughout the network. This connectedness has facilitated the consistent, coordinated, and reliable flow of medical information – test results, radiologic images, medical history, medication lists, physician notes – that can be called up in a flash to support timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Consider, for example, the patient who comes to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital with symptoms of a heart attack. Initial diagnostic tests indicate a blockage, and physicians at Martha’s Vineyard consult with a team from the MGH to determine the best course of action. The patient is transferred from the Island to Boston, and while the patient is en route, providers at the MGH can review information in the medical record to gain a better understanding of the patient’s specific medical profile and history. This vital data is then used to guide and shape recommendations and organize the right treatment and services in a timely manner. When the patient returns to the Vineyard, the complete medical record – including new test results and updated information from the MGH hospitalization – is right there, available to the patient’s providers on the Island.
Close collaboration between Martha’s Vineyard and the MGH, however, isn’t new. Indeed, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Mass General have had a telemedicine relationship for years. This link has helped many stroke patients by giving providers and patients on the Vineyard 24-hour access to the stroke service at the MGH. Physicians in Boston can virtually examine a patient who is at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, asking key questions that can provide a sense of the type, location, and severity of the stroke so that appropriate treatment can be started at the earliest possible time.
The affiliation between Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the MGH also has opened up new and valuable educational opportunities to practitioners. Vineyard-based physicians now participate in Partners-wide continuing medical education programs. And we will continue to look at various opportunities to share knowledge and experiences through training and mentoring programs.
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is a place that has been willing to embrace significant change to respond to the advances in medicine and technology, the ever-moving health care landscape, and the evolving needs and expectations of patients and families. The affiliation with the MGH is indeed one example of this kind of forward-looking perspective. But perhaps the most tangible sign of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s commitment to its community and its visionary approach is the beautiful new facility that is poised to open next month.
The new Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is a remarkable structure built with extraordinary attention to the environment of care. Painstaking detail has gone into designing and constructing a warm and welcoming, accessible and sophisticated facility that not only meets the health care needs of the Island today but anticipates the technology that will be used in the practice of medicine into the future.
The MGH is truly proud of its affiliation with Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. We congratulate the dedicated men and women who are the heart and soul of this beloved Island resource. And we salute the entire Martha’s Vineyard community for the vision and the steadfast support that has created the magnificent facility that stands today – as it will stand into the future – as a beacon of health and hope.