Greenville Health System has been named an academic health center, and it has partnered with Clemson University, Furman University and the University of South Carolina in a clinical university model to pave the way for breakthroughs in health care delivery, access and affordability.
“This kind of singular vision to transform health care simply hasn’t happened before in the U.S.,” said Spence Taylor, GHS vice president of academics, during the announcement on the agreements on Tuesday.
This week’s news completes a journey that began with the creation of the USC School of Medicine Greenville on the Greenville Memorial Medical Campus. The clinical university model pulls the best of academic scholarship, medical research and front-line experience to find better solutions, said Taylor.
The initiative’s immediate priorities are helping make healthcare more affordable, resolving health care delivery gaps and improving workforce pipelines to deliver ready-to-work graduates.
“Health care is at a crucial crossroads,” said GHS president and CEO Michael Riordan. “We believe that the clinical university model is a game changer that will improve patient care, not only at GHS, but across the state and even at a national level. By focusing our efforts in this collaborative powerhouse, we can leverage resources to accomplish more than any one of us could do by ourselves.”
Only about two percent of healthcare systems in the U.S. are academic health centers, which usually include a university with a medical school and at least one other health profession school that owns or is affiliated with a teaching hospital or health system. MUSC in Charleston is the other South Carolina entry on that list.
Academic health centers are teaching hospitals that provide a range of care from routine to highly complex, conduct research, develop new technologies and provide patients access to clinical trials.
“It’s not enough to discover breakthrough treatments for diabetes; we have to find a reliable system of ensuring that patients have access to those treatments and use them appropriately,” said Taylor.
GHS provides applied education and training to more than 5,000 students each year. Through the clinical university model, GHS will work with its primary academic partners and collaborate with approximately 60 colleges and universities to provide clinical education required for student degree completion. This collaboration includes not only graduate and professional studies but also healthcare career pipeline programs for undergraduates.