Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine Expand Collaboration
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Women’s Gynecologic Health and Obstetrical Care, Fetal Medicine, COPD and Lung Transplantation, Among Services That Will Benefit Western Pennsylvania Patients
Affiliation creates one of the nation’s largest women’s health research initiatives
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Johns Hopkins Medicine today announced an expanded collaboration between the organizations that will focus on gynecologic care and maternal fetal medicine, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung transplantation.
The collaboration between AHN’s Women and Children Institute, led by Allan Klapper, MD, and the Johns Hopkins Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics will create one of the largest coordinated women’s gynecologic and obstetrical health research programs in the United States, providing AHN patients with streamlined access to hundreds of clinical trials, second opinions and specialized treatments for rare and complex conditions.
Collaborative gynecologic and obstetrical women’s health research between the organizations will also provide a unique opportunity to combine data from tens of thousands of patient interactions, including deliveries, gynecologic surgeries and ambulatory visits, to further study common conditions and improve practice standards.
“We are creating a community of collaborators in women’s health who are operationally integrated and programmatically focused on raising standards of excellence in patient care, research and education to benefit women of all ages and stages of life,” said Andrew J. Satin, MD, Director, Johns Hopkins Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
Expectant women being cared for by AHN will also have streamlined access to the Johns Hopkins Center for Fetal Therapy, a world-renowned program for diagnosing and treating rare and complex fetal conditions in the womb. The team at Johns Hopkins uses innovative fetoscopic surgical techniques – accessing the fetus through a small incision - to treat potentially life-threatening complications of pregnancy, including congenital diaphragmatic hernia, spina bifida, complicated monochorionic twins, and bladder obstruction. AHN specialists in obstetrics, maternal-fetal medicine, neonatology and pediatrics will work with the Johns Hopkins team to meet the comprehensive health needs of such patients.
The enhanced collaboration between AHN and Johns Hopkins Medicine builds on the success of the two organizations’ five-year cancer relationship, which has provided cancer patients in the greater Pittsburgh region with more seamless access to second opinions and clinical trials testing new therapies at Hopkins. The relationship also enables clinicians at both institutions to share knowledge and consult on patient care.
“As we have demonstrated over the past several years through our important work together in cancer, collaboration among leading institutions truly is essential to health care innovation and improving quality of care for the patients and communities we serve,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, AHN President and CEO. “We look forward to the tremendous value this model will now also have for both patients and caregivers in our women and infants and pulmonary medicine programs.”
The pulmonology collaboration between AHN and Johns Hopkins will be research-focused, with the two institutions conducting joint research on precision medicine approaches for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The disease affects about three million patients in the United States each year, with an estimated 12 million additional cases that are undiagnosed.
Utilizing the Johns Hopkins Precision Medicine Analytics Platform, AHN and Johns Hopkins will study new approaches for treatment of COPD, to identify the most effective treatments and ultimately reduce hospitalization rates associated with the disease. Anil Singh, MD, Chair of Pulmonology at AHN, will lead the implementation of the partnership at AHN.
AHN patients with advanced lung disease will also have streamlined access to the Johns Hopkins lung transplant program, a pioneering leader in lung transplantation for nearly 25 years. According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, a federally funded organization that provides advanced statistical analyses related to organ allocation and transplantation, 98 percent of Johns Hopkins’ lung transplant patients are alive with a functioning transplanted lung one year post-surgery, compared to 89 percent nationwide. Johns Hopkins’ median time from waitlist to transplant is 2.8 months, compared to a national average of 3.1 months.
AHN patients choosing Johns Hopkins for their lung transplant will be guided through every step of the process by a personal patient navigator. Pre and post-lung transplant care programs aligned with the Johns Hopkins’ transplant team have been established at AHN’s Allegheny General Hospital, providing patients with convenient local access to care needed prior to and after surgery. Additionally, Highmark insured patients requiring lung transplant will have specific in-network benefits to better accommodate them and their families while being cared for at Johns Hopkins.