LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

Gundersen Health System in La Crosse is teaming up with five other health systems to improve health care across the state.

Together, the six organizations provide health care to about 90 percent of Wisconsin's population.

The partnership will allow the health care systems to share electronic medical records a lot faster for patients. It will also allow them to share best practices.

Here is the list of the partnering health care systems and their headquarters:

  • Aspirus, Wausau
  • Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee
  • Bellin Health, Green Bay
  • Gundersen Health System, La Crosse
  • ThedaCare, Appleton
  • UW Health, Madison

The members will meet bimonthly to talk about improvements.

“Our vision is to use our collective resources wisely by being good stewards of the clinical, administrative, IT, research, patient experience, care management and other shared expertise within our six systems,” said Greg Devine, president and CEO of the partnership. “We want to provide better value in health care."

From lowering costs to improving the quality of care, Gundersen Health System believes collaborating with others who have the same goals in mind will help improve health care on a more local level.

Gundersen Health System has been a staple health care provider in La Crosse for many years.

"Gosh, for a century or more, Gundersen has been trying to improve the health of the community,” said Mark Platt, senior vice-president of business services at Gundersen Health System.

However, as health care continues to change, so too is the approach to patient satisfaction.

"I think everyone believes that we need to lower the cost of care without impacting the quality,” said Platt.

“It's our responsibility to improve quality, lower the cost and improve the health of the population,” said Dr. Jeff Thompson, CEO of Gundersen Health System.

On its own, Gundersen has been working to meet these goals on a daily basis. However, they are hoping a new partnership allows them to speed up that process.

"We will be able to pull on the best ideas from all these other successful centers and more quickly infiltrate them into our practices here,” said Thompson.

The partnership is made up of six health systems based in Wisconsin.

"We cover 90 percent of the population of the state with these six systems so we believe we are going to make a huge impact on Wisconsin,” said Platt.

"We have some very different players. The University of Wisconsin Madison has a very strong research division,” said Thompson.  "Bellin is a very strong, like we do connection, with our community."

From group purchasing of supplies to sharing best practices, the health systems believe this new partnership will lead to a better healthcare experience for all.

"Nobody will have all the answers, but we believe among the group, we'll have many very good answers that will rise all the rest of us more quickly,” said Thompson.

It's important to note, this is not a merger between health systems. There will be no trading of patients or exchanging of ownership and money. It is specifically a partnership among the six health systems, which means they will continue to function on an individual basis, but be able to share best practices and improve health care for patients statewide.