Emory Healthcare and the School of Medicine are launching a joint initiative called Emory Medicine, which will involve maximizing resources to improve efficiency in health care delivery.

School of Medicine Dean Christian Larsen said the initiative will entail a tighter alignment of resources and an integration of leadership structures within Emory Healthcare and the School of Medicine.

Larsen explained that he and Emory Healthcare CEO John Fox will be collaborating closely to develop ways that their respective teams can work together.

He said the initiative emphasized business discipline, budgeting and the standardization of operations in order to reduce costs and reallocate resources.

“The care of the patient is what drives our clinical care,” Larsen said. “But our research and our teaching is all about better serving our patients and really finding solutions to their problems.”

Larsen said the initiative developed from a “shared vision” between Emory Healthcare and the School of Medicine, regarding organization and prioritization in serving patients. The Emory Medicine initiative, Larsen said, is an effort to tailor care to patients’ needs and to train health care providers to lead in the future.

“It’s an initiative for Emory Healthcare and the School of Medicine to work together to better coordinate our resources and processes for the development of our strategic clinical programs going forward,” Fox said.

Larsen said integration and interdependence were already evident in the relationship between the School of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology and the care delivery for cardiovascular disease in Emory Healthcare.

Fox added that collaboration between Emory Healthcare and the School of Medicine is not a new concept, but that the Emory Medicine initiative indicates a more deliberate effort to work together.

“The more that the School [of Medicine] and Emory Healthcare are working on issues, the more we can be more effective in helping faculty deal with all these changes going on,” Fox said.

Among the changes facing the healthcare industry are sequestration cuts and the rising health care needs of the baby boom generation.

“Academic medicine and healthcare in general in this country are in the midst of unprecedented levels of change,” Larsen said. “This initiative is about allowing us to position ourselves to not only succeed but to lead the change that needs to happen on a national and local level.”

Larsen said this initiative will specifically help the School of Medicine control its cost structure, which is experiencing a significant decline in funding due to the sequestration cuts.

He cited shared administrative services as an example of reducing costs by eliminating duplicate services.

“A lot of Emory Healthcare physicians are faculty in the School of Medicine, and those faculty live in the two worlds of Emory Healthcare and the School [of Medicine],” Fox said.

Larsen said leadership from Emory Healthcare and the School of Medicine had already met for a planning retreat.

He said both leaderships are in the process of developing goals and measures to achieve these goals, saying that they expect to finalize their priorities by early next year.

–By Harmeet Kaur