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Apr 3, 201812:47 PMOpen Mic

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From lab to bedside, the Wisconsin Idea is all for the good of the patients

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As doctors and leaders of health care systems, we are in business for only one reason — the patients and communities we serve.

The Wisconsin Idea to us is the conviction that science, discovery, and innovation can improve our lives individually and collectively as a community. It's about combining exceptional patient care with innovative technologies, and encouraging people and organizations to think broadly about where they can collaborate to improve the state of Wisconsin as a whole.

Community benefit can come in multiple ways. It could be coming together to understand and address the social determinants of health, access to care for the people of Wisconsin, or general health needs of the broader population in areas like opioid abuse, obesity, or diabetes. Success can only be measured by whether we've moved the bar on safety, quality, cure rates, and patient experience.

Competition can push us to work harder and innovate faster, but in health care, collaboration is a critical component of discovery and advancing innovation. We can't always work in silos because so much of scientific discovery is predicated on sharing ideas and best practices. Marshfield Clinic and UW Health offer a modern example of how to come together for the good of the state. While we each have our own insurance company, hospitals, and comprehensive medical group, we are partners in many ways. Marshfield provides an academic campus to UW–Madison in the northern part of the state, for example. We also look for areas to collaborate clinically.

Our relationship started 90 years ago, fueled by the Wisconsin Idea of people joining together to solve problems. Since 1927, Marshfield has been training UW medical students, starting with a practical experience program and expanding over the years to include residents in internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and other areas.

Research is also an important part of our collaboration. We have jointly received a $5 million precision medicine grant to explore ways to personalize health care for individuals based on genome research and therapy. This approach brings digital health care together with cutting-edge research around the genome to better understand the individual patient and how to tailor care to that patient’s needs.

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