Iowa. Let's be honest, it may not immediately spring to mind when you are thinking of places that are on the cutting edge of new business models or pushing the envelope on industry trends. Yet that is exactly what's happening.

Last October, four health systems banded together to form the University of Iowa Health Alliance. The organization's aim is to improve population, increase data sharing, and better integrate care delivery. The four systems are doing this while maintaining their independence.

That's not all, Mercy Health, one of the founders of the alliance, is openly courting health insurers to become partners in risk-based contracting."We are all in," David Swieskowski, M.D., senior vice president, chief accountable care officer at Mercy, told me in a recent interview."We want to get closer to that premium dollar."

In the interview below, Swieskowski also details how Mercy is merging clinical and financial data to get a more complete picture of patient care. He also explains the critical role nurses play in improving population health.