September 25, 2010
Between health care reform and the sagging economy; health care organizations have to adapt their direction and strategies in order to insure their future. Although these are challenging times they also present great opportunities. If an organization can be highly adaptive then they will have the competitive advantage. In this time of health care reform and legislation organizations need be highly adaptive to change, able to overcome innovation road blocks, and have the ability to build that competitive advantage to make a difference for their patients. We will explore how health care organizations adapt their strategies and direction through the following areas: information technology advancements, quality of healthcare, skilled workforce, pay for performance and improved access to health care.
Heritage Valley Health System is a progressive community-based healthcare system located in southwestern Pennsylvania. In partnership with more than 400 physicians and nearly 4,000 employees, they offer a broad range of medical, surgical and diagnostic services at their hospitals, community satellite facilities, and physician offices. Heritage Valley’s operates its own electronic health record (EHR) and electronic prescription program. This EHR system allows for automatic medical record delivery to Heritage Valley associated physicians and hospitals instantly (Heritage, 2011). I recently got a very clear picture of just how wonderful the EHR system is when a patient is experiencing health issues. I first visited one of the two health systems hospital emergency rooms and was greeting by prompt easy check-in. When you arrive at the emergency room you have a Heritage Valley care card that you swipe on a computer monitor that instantly pools all your information up for your quick confirmation. The next step is that you are quickly triaged by a nurse team and escorted to a room for evaluation by the physician. The physician has quick access to any blood work or doctor’s visits through the EHR to get to know you. When I went to follow-up with my physician the next day she not only had all the information from the emergency room visit on the EHR, she also already had the results of a test done a few hours prior to my appointment and was able to prescribe treatment without delay. For me and I’m sure for many patients this is a wonderful advancement that affords Heritage Valley health system a competitive advantage over others who don’t use an EHR system.
After working in health care for over 24 years, quality of health care needs to be high priority for organizations to be successful in getting the competitive edge. A lot can be said for word of mouth when it comes to all aspects of health care. When I first moved to my current home 11 years ago I was warned not to go to my local hospital because they were notorious for giving bad care and having the worst emergency room around. I actually had my first experience with this hospital about six months after moving here. I went to the emergency room one Saturday morning and to make a long story short; if I had not been able to pass a kidney stone after three hours of waiting I think they would have let me die. I was not even seen or any test done until I started to vomit from the unbelievable pain. The staff was rude and uncaring. In the past two years the hospital has completely turned itself around, and is part of a health system that is leaps and bounds above what this hospital was 10 years prior. When people talk about this hospital now, they are proud of their local hospital and the exceptional quality of care that is being provided there.
Maintaining a skilled workforce is another high priority for the advancement of a health care organization. When patient satisfaction surveys are done there certainly should be a section pertaining to the patients opinions on the knowledge and...