Mountain West Medical Center and University of Utah Health announced a new working alliance during a program for invited guests outside the hospital Thursday.
“We’ve been working with the University now going on six years developing the idea of what a relationship could be with University of Utah Health,” said Phil Eaton, CEO of MWMC. “It’s hard to describe how big this really is, but it is huge. I see great things for our patients, doctors and nurses to be able to consult with university doctors and nurses.”
The alliance will help enhance MWMC services with telehealth systems, educational programs for physicians and nurses, Air-Med services and other services, according to speakers at the program.
Telehealth connects patients to vital health care services through videoconferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults and wireless communications, officials said. By increasing access to physicians and specialists, telehealth helps ensure patients receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time.
The announcement included speeches from MWMC Chief of Staff Dr. James Webber; Ted Kimball, Medical Director of Telehealth, U of U Health; Michael L. Good, CEO of U of U Health; and Tooele City Mayor Debbie Winn.
“Today marks a new day in the delivery of healthcare for our wonderful residents of Tooele County,” Webber said. “As a medical student at the University of Utah in the mid-90s, I received a top-notch medical education. Now, as Chief of Staff, I realize how fortunate we all are to be part of the University of Utah Health organization.”
Webber said the alliance provides a framework for expanding services at Mountain West and the capability of handling more complex patient cases in collaboration with physicians at the university.
“As a physician and community member, I’m so thrilled to be part of the advancement of health care for the members of our county,” Webber said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, with the announcement today of this affiliation, it is my opinion that gone are the days for the need to drive to Salt Lake to receive care that can be provided here,” he said. “I stand committed to ensure the success of this alliance and am ready to do all I can in helping to establish Mountain West Medical Center as a shining star in our affiliation with the University.”
Kimball supervises network development and telehealth at U of U Health. He said that anything that really lasts takes time to develop.
“Phil mentioned that this is a six-year process with hard work on both sides. Both teams worked really closely together,” Kimball said. “… All this affiliation is focused at delivering good care to patients.”
Good spoke about the importance of teamwork.
“What we’re doing here today is we’re taking two great teams and bringing together a team-of-teams, he said.
“Communication is a big part of this relationship and it identifies new opportunities, new services, better care-coordination, sharing best practices and always trying to deliver care as close as we can to and where we work and where we play,” Good said.
He said MWMC has consistently been a top performer in the U’s network of telestroke partners and has achieved the fastest door-in and door-out times of other hospitals in the telestroke network.
Teleneurology and tele-ICU features will be enhanced at MWMC with the partnership, he said
Mayor Winn expressed gratitude to the MWMC and U of U Health. She said the partnership will bring about improved health and quality of life for Tooele residents.
“Quality of life — that is the most important thing that all of us want,” the mayor said. “I believe that is exactly what this partnership will do.”