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Focusing on finding the best healthcare outcomes

Posted: April 11, 2014 8:14 a.m.
Updated: April 14, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Recently, I attended the Congress on Healthcare Leadership presented by the American College of Healthcare Executives, and I was most impressed by one presentation: Building the New Healthcare Delivery System. In particular, I was struck by the fact that healthcare executives from across the country were focused almost exclusively on this new world of healthcare and its impact on how the organizations they lead are designed.

Today, we are experiencing a national healthcare system that is rapidly changing from a fee-for-service environment in which you or your insurance company pay for services received, to one where payments are based on quality outcomes; where managing the health of a community or defined population is incentivized. The skilled executives I interacted with recognize these shifts and are actively seeking ways to adapt their own organizations to best meet these challenges. It’s not a simple process, but in the end, it will result in better, more cost-effective care.

Most typical healthcare systems are organized into several departments that deliver a certain aspect of care for patients (such as surgical services, radiology, laboratory or housekeeping to name a few). This model worked well for hospitals in years past, but it is proving inadequate for today’s needs. The basic problem is that a healthcare system can deliver great service within each department and still miss the goal of delivering quality, cost-effective outcomes for patients. Sometimes we describe this breakdown as “operating in silos.” We’ve learned that “silo” driven healthcare systems tend to be more bureaucratic, exhibit poor communication, stifle innovation and allow details to be overlooked when compared to more patient-centered organizations. All of these factors work in unison to create an organization that is ill-prepared to function in a rapidly evolving industry.

The most effective healthcare organizations today create an environment where caregivers act more like teammates instead of individual staff. These patient-centered organizations are responsive to innovative ideas and changes that result in a seamless experience for patients. Breaking down barriers between departments means ideas can be freely exchanged, improvements implemented, and successes celebrated by everyone. Agile and coordinated decision-making processes create a positive reinforcing cycle that constantly measures, evaluates, and evolves processes to deliver better care more efficiently. Most importantly, it is all centered around you, our patient. These are the hallmarks of the most successful organizations in any industry.

Those organizations that successfully embrace this new delivery model will be well prepared to thrive as healthcare evolves. Those which are unable to reinvent their design model will find themselves less and less relevant. KershawHealth is actively working to develop an organizational model as part of its “total makeover” that ensures it is part of this first group. You can be assured that our team of healthcare professionals -- from the nurse that gives you medication, to the housekeeper that ensures your room is thoroughly cleaned, to the physician who orchestrates the many aspects of the care process, and everyone else in our organization -- is focused on the singular goal of providing the best possible healthcare outcome for you. Over the coming months, I hope you will take time to get to know the “new” KershawHealth. We are the people you’ve always known and trusted, with a renewed commitment to work together as a team to bring you the very best healthcare … close to home.

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