Mayo to partner with St. Cloud cancer clinic

The Mayo Clinic on Tuesday announced a St. Cloud cancer clinic will be the first member of a Mayo cancer network aimed at giving patients access to services closer to where they live.

The Coborn Cancer Center, part of the CentraCare Health System, will have access to Mayo physicians and clinical resources through the Mayo Clinic Cancer Care Network.

The resources include AskMayoExpert, which provides reference materials and access to Mayo's disease management protocols, eConsults, which can pair Coborn physicians with Mayo experts to get input on specific questions, and administrative consulting.

Dr. David Hayes, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, said Mayo and Coborn already had a long-standing relationship. Through the network, Hayes said Mayo plans to work with other independent local health care systems.

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"We really think the answer to improvement in health care in general and cost effectiveness is to start to integrate knowledge and expertise across institutions," Hayes said during a news conference Tuesday in St. Cloud.

"It's going to be building an infrastructure of how to transmit information a little bit more effectively in 2012 and beyond, said Dr. Donald Jurgens, a medical oncologist at Coborn Cancer Center. "It's the middle ground between the telephone call and the personal visit."

Jurgens said in the past, a Coborn Cancer Center patient might seek a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic. But under the new partnership, he said that trip to Rochester likely wouldn't be necessary.

Hayes said there's been interest in linking Mayo to independent clinics in other specialty areas — including neurology, cardiology and cardiovascular care — and he said more Mayo specialty networks are possible.

Network membership is based on a rigorous set of patient care and quality data, Mayo officials said.