Learning from others and sharing information is crucial to making improvements in any field. That’s especially true in health care, which is built upon a foundation of continuous learning and service to others.
Providence leaders were among those who gathered recently at the 13th Annual Becker’s Healthcare Meeting to focus on collaborating to improve health care. During the event, many practical solutions were discussed to help address some of the most pressing issues facing health care today.
Most of our Providence speakers focused on three main themes:
- Removing barriers for our caregivers and patients
- Creating a sustainable working environment for caregivers
- Investing in the future to continue our Mission
Here are some insights from discussions on each of those subjects.
Removing barriers for our caregivers and patients
Consumerism in health care is discussed frequently, but what does it really mean? Sara Vaezy, Providence executive vice president, chief strategy and digital officer, offered a straightforward explanation in her session on consumerism. “Consumerism in health care is about bringing providers and patients together. It’s about giving people the experiences they want.”
To do that, barriers need to be identified and eliminated. Often, that means embracing technology and innovation. Yet, Vaezy explained that doesn’t always mean that a “digital” approach is the right solution to a problem.
“Digital is an option for care, but it’s not the only option,” Vaezy told the audience. “Digital augments what we are doing in our offline operations. And digital investments support both our online programs and services, as well as offline operations and makes them even better.”
Streamlining care will also help physicians, nurses and clinicians by helping ease the way for interactions with patients. Over time, this will improve outcomes.
Creating a sustainable working environment for caregivers
The worldwide shortage of health care workers – from physicians and nurses to all levels of support staff – has created tremendous challenges. It’s also requiring hospitals and health systems to think differently about how care is provided. A positive outcome of thinking differently is seeing how it can help address burnout and other concerns.
Providence is embracing innovative working models using virtual nursing programs, remote patient monitoring, hospital at home, telemedicine and more. Syl Trepanier, R.N., Providence chief nursing officer, addressed this shift in approach during a panel discussion at the Becker’s event. “We are reimaging our work and asking ourselves how flexible we can be to offer sustainable environments,” Trepanier said. “Nurses today have more need for greater work flexibility than we have traditionally offered.”
Speaking on a related topic, David Kim. M.D., chief executive, Providence Clinical Network, echoed this direction. “We need to give physicians and clinicians an environment to do what they love,” he said. “We can be creative in creating engaging environments that allow for that to happen.”
The evolution of employment models for physicians is another area that Providence has embraced. Hoda Asmar, M.D., sees physician partners as being key to driving change, “I see all our physicians, current and future, as being an integral part of our Mission, strategy and ability to deliver what our patients and communities need now and, in the future,” Asmar said.
According to Asmar, no matter what model of employment exists between a health system and their physicians, alignment on values matters most. “Living the Mission, having a clear purpose like transforming care and sharing priorities that we can all be laser focused on is crucial to success,” she said. “And we must embrace transparency, integrity and collegiality.”
All three of these sessions addressed the fact that reducing burnout and improving flexibility for caregivers, including physicians, will have positive impacts on patient care.
Investing in the future to continue our Mission
The final major theme from Providence leaders at the Becker’s meeting focused on financial sustainability.
In a panel interview, Erik Wexler, Providence chief operating officer, discussed how smart investments and selective program reductions will be crucial to the future of health care and Providence’s ability to deliver on our mission.
“Working to reduce the duplication of low-utilized acute care services is an imperative to improving care to those we serve, and for creating efficiencies,” Wexler said. “Financial stability is part of how we serve our communities. We don’t just make decisions to cut. We seek a balance.”
Wexler stressed that cuts in the short-term can have long-term negative impacts. “At Providence, we take the long view. Serving communities for more than 165 years provides us with that perspective,” he said.
Furthermore, Wexler explained that health systems must also work with commercial payers to ensure that reimbursement for services keeps pace with inflation and other factors that are increasing the cost of care.
Building momentum for the rest of 2023 and beyond
These were just a few of the highlights from some of the Providence leaders who attended the Becker’s annual meeting. Although it’s clear that challenges for the health care field will continue throughout 2023, strong progress is being made and plans are being set to continue building upon that progress for many years to come.
Learn more about health care’s most pressing issues here.
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