UH Strategy Addresses Market Forces
In 2018, we continued to see new entrants into the health care arena and vertical acquisitions that are prompting many industry participants to re-think traditional business models for health care delivery. UH’s focus areas for 2019 – quality, patient experience, value and caregiver engagement – address these market forces to help ensure our ability to provide a full continuum of services for our patients, leveraging the power of our comprehensive health system.
When we measure our ability to provide superior quality, we look at patient safety and satisfaction. We understand that our patients trust us with their care. Nothing we do is more important than working to help ensure the safest environment possible. Last year, we aggressively reinforced our commitment to being a high reliability organization that emphasizes a culture of prevention, driving out unnecessary care variation and speaking up to reduce risk. As we move forward, we will utilize more technology for clinical support to improve diagnostic accuracy and customize treatment plans. Health care providers will need to continue reducing readmission rates, hospital-acquired conditions and complications following surgeries and procedures. But these quality metrics need to be accompanied by patient satisfaction.
Patient satisfaction is derived from positive experiences, such as the relationship our patients have with their physicians, nurses or other UH caregivers when they visit. Patient satisfaction also results from their ability to access care, when and where they need it. In 2018, we enhanced access by opening new facilities and enabling online self-scheduling for many specialty health care services. We also launched a completely new and mobile-friendly website. In 2018, we had over 8,000 virtual visits in our health system. Moving forward, we will add more specialties to virtual care, self-scheduling and telehealth clinics. We will continue with our OneUH system integration project, consolidating all of our locations on common platforms – enhancing our data and patient record administration that helps facilitate a seamless patient experience no matter where care is provided in the system.
Value means providing the best possible quality and patient experience at the lowest annual cost. At UH, we’re aligned around a purpose of providing the highest value care for those who receive care and those who ultimately pay for care, including patients, commercial insurers, and federal and state government payers. One of the best illustrations of our ability to positively impact value-based care can be seen through our University Hospitals Accountable Care Organization, currently one of the 10 largest in the U.S. with 575,000 members. Membership in our population health and accountable care initiatives increased more than 60 percent in 2018, underscoring the importance that employers, insurance companies and government payers are placing on population health management. Whether it’s bundled payment program agreements like the ones we have with Walmart, GE and Medicare, or managing diabetes for a given population, our goal is to keep patients healthy and those with chronic disease conditions as healthy as possible. Part of this strategy will involve utilizing smaller ambulatory care sites and establishing more centers of excellence at some of our larger facilities. We will also look to optimize remote monitoring technology that enables patients to return home more quickly, with hospital-at-home services as an alternative to more costly inpatient or skilled nursing care.
Engagement is the gateway to a high performing organization. Whether it’s engagement with each other in the workplace or engaging with our patients and others in the community, it’s critical to our ability to live our mission. Engaged caregivers are enthusiastic and passionate about their work, and we’ve invested resources into safeguarding the continued progress of our workforce engagement initiatives. We launched a clinician experience program and several new caregiver benefit programs in 2018 to help assure we stay on the leading edge. We are one team, united in our vision of advancing the science of health and the art of compassion.