Six health systems band together to share data on care costs and quality

Six of the nation's leading healthcare systems announced Wednesday that they're banding together to share data on outcomes, quality and costs in a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort.

The six health systems — Cleveland Clinic, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Denver Health, Geisinger Health System, Intermountain Healthcare and the Mayo Clinic — have a combined patient population of more than 10 million people. They'll be joining the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, a leading research institute that tracks disparities across the country in how patients are treated and at what cost.

"The intractable problems of quality and cost cannot be solved without getting to the fundamental issue of how we deliver health care in this country," Brent James, chief quality officer at Intermountain Healthcare, said in a statement. "By collaborating to gather data and identify the most effective care models, we can address variation in treatment, cost, and outcomes to give patients the quality care they need and bend the cost curve down in a meaningful way."

The collaborative will initially focus on eight costly conditions and treatments that have wide varieties in quality and outcomes: knee replacement, diabetes, heart failure, asthma, weight-loss surgery, labor and delivery, spine surgery and depression.