Access to Care

Throughout Sutter Health, we provide patients with highly personalized, convenient care—where they want it, when they want it and how they want it. To ensure that people can receive the medical care they deserve, we invested in new facilities, expanded our clinical programs and embraced many new technologies that help increase access to health care in our communities.

Technologies speed diagnosis and treatment

An array of advanced technologies has helped our Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation doctors diagnose and treat breast conditions more accurately and quickly. In early 2013, our medical foundation moved into a new breast and imaging center in Santa Rosa, offering services such as three-dimensional mammography, computerized tomography scans and advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound. In addition to providing the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies—a few unavailable elsewhere in Sonoma County or the state—our center places special emphasis on patient comfort and safety. Patients undergoing breast MRI, for example, can select personalized lighting, music, images and videos to help them relax during their scans.

A nurse prepares a patient for an MRI at our new imaging center in Santa Rosa.

New health plan widens access to care

Our 2013 launch of the Sutter Health Plus health plan introduced a flexible new way for businesses and individuals to access Sutter Health’s comprehensive network of high-value services. Initially serving the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, the plan partners with businesses to provide an array of benefits and cost options for their employees. Self-employed individuals and others who buy their own insurance also can obtain coverage through Sutter Health Plus. Plan members have access to nine hospitals and more than 1,800 Sutter-affiliated doctors with a shared commitment to delivering coordinated medical care personalized to patients’ needs. Open enrollment for Sutter Health Plus began in October, with coverage effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Technology aids fast help for stroke patients

In 2013, Sutter-affiliated California Pacific Medical Center, a leader in advanced telemedicine technology, expanded its lifesaving telestroke program to more than 20 hospitals equipped with specialized telestroke technology across Northern California. For stroke patients, every minute counts, and long-distance ambulance transfers can delay treatment vital to recovery. Through our telestroke program, stroke neurologists work with physicians at rural and small community hospital emergency departments—some more than 300 miles away—via two-way, high-definition video conferencing to perform round-the-clock, stroke-specific examinations. The program offers patients the best possible treatment plan, allowing them to recover at a hospital close to home. Last year our telestroke program also provided 24-hour telephone support to more than 90 hospitals statewide.

Health record system supports coordinated care

Throughout 2013, Sutter Health continued to expand and integrate our multifaceted electronic health record system (EHR). Our EHR uses advanced digital technologies to ensure a highly personalized experience for our patients and to help our clinicians better coordinate medical care—safely and securely.

Our five medical foundations and thousands of caregivers across our network connect to our EHR. In 2013, we added three more Sutter-affiliated hospitals to the system, for a total of 10 (17 campuses total). Qualified independent doctors also may connect to our system through a digital tool called Sutter Community Connect. Our secure EHR system gives caregivers instant shared access to critical patient data—such as lab tests, drug allergies, diagnoses and treatments—which helps us improve the quality and continuity of patient care.

Patients, too, have personalized, secure online access to their health information through My Health Online. By the end of 2013, we had connected more than 955,000 patients to this web-based EHR service. My Health Online lets patients schedule appointments, send messages to their care team, pay bills online, renew prescriptions, review test results and access their health record—anytime, anywhere.

Construction investments expand services

In 2013, Sutter Health continued our nearly $790 million investment in hospital, care center and earthquake safety-related construction throughout Northern California. In August, we opened our Sutter-affiliated Sunnyvale Center, a 120,000-square-foot medical center serving Sunnyvale and surrounding Bay Area cities. Our medical center features many advanced technologies and services, including adult and pediatric primary care, cancer care, obstetrics and gynecology, and diagnostic imaging.

We continued to build or expand Sutter-affiliated facilities in other communities—Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center in Sacramento and the San Carlos Center in San Mateo County. Sutter-affiliated California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco also began construction of two seismically safe facilities—a modern 740,000-square-foot acute care hospital and an adjacent 253,000-square-foot medical office building.

Our new Sunnyvale Center features many advanced technologies and services.

Medical care comes to the workplace

When Sutter-affiliated Palo Alto Medical Foundation launched its Care-A-Van mobile medical clinic in August 2013, Bay Area businesses quickly requested visits so their busy employees could receive expert medical care while at work. The Care-A-Van’s skilled medical team offers primary care and wellness services in two fully equipped exam rooms. Services include physicals, care for basic health issues, lab services and counseling on test results, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body mass index. The Care-A-Van operates like a medical clinic and fully integrates with our Sutter electronic health record system. From August through December, the mobile clinic served 464 patients at their work sites.

“We are seeing many people who have never had primary care in the past.”

Ronesh Sinha, M.D.
Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Dr. Ronesh Sinha, left, examines a patient in our Care-A-Van mobile medical clinic. The van travels to work sites around the Bay Area five days a week.