By Troy Wells, President and CEO, Baptist Health
Baptist Health conducted an extensive strategic planning process in 2016 that culminated with the presentation of a new strategic plan called “Baptist Health 2020” that was approved by our board of trustees in September.
While the health-care environment continues to change all around us, our mission and values will continue to guide our work in becoming a more effective health system in the coming years.
We continue to see more informed health-care consumers who are making health-care choices differently than in the past –– and their options are continuing to grow.
Social expectations are that transparency will go up among health-care providers and that high-quality care is not a differentiator but rather an expectation.
Technology continues to change the practice of medicine like it changes everything else, but the current exponential growth is rapidly advancing personalized medicine and better diagnostic tools. It is also advancing the pace of nontraditional competitors in health care such as Google and Apple.
From a public policy perspective, it seems that debates around health-care coverage will continue. It also appears that more risk for health-care financing will shift toward the provider community and the states whether it’s through Medicaid block grants or Accountable Care Organizations.
When we consider the economics, it seems clear that overall health-care costs at 18 percent of gross domestic product cannot keep going up, so the pressure to reduce costs to the system, the government, and the consumer will continue to be present.
We also expect continued consolidation across many health systems and other health-related industries where value can be created.
Since the presidential election, many have asked about the Affordable Care Act and the future of health care. We cannot predict the future, but what we do know is that that the strategic plan we have created is the right plan no matter what happens with the ACA.
The important thing for Baptist Health is to be ready to respond to the changing environment and be able to lead the way in providing the right health care for people in Arkansas.
We will be doing all the right things no matter what.
In developing a new strategic plan, we spent some time reflecting on what it means to evolve as a health system.
Where we historically relied on volume growth for success, we increasingly will be focused on the right care at the right time and the right place.
Where historically we focused on individual encounters with patients, we will increasingly be focused on the longitudinal patient relationship.
Where we have typically focused on the acute-care setting and hospitals, we increasingly will look to engage patients and consumers in a variety of settings and rely on partnerships and collaboration to help us achieve our goals.
And while our environment requires adaptability and readiness to change, our values remain constant. And it’s these values that provide the foundation for how we will continue to provide care in Arkansas.
Goals and Organizational Capabilities
Creating a new strategic plan meant an opportunity to re-evaluate our organizational goals, including a focus on the following.
• Quality –– Continue to improve the clinical care that we provide to patients.
• Service –– Provide health-care services in a compassionate and Christian environment that exceeds patient’s expectations.
• Community –– We want to be much more deliberate in how we do more good in the communities that we serve through faith-based outreach, community-health planning, and health education.
• Value –– Focus on creating more value for patients by delivering safer care with exceptional clinical quality, more value for the health system by reducing costs and waste, and more value for the payers and government by creating better outcomes at less cost.
To create a sustainable, more-effective health system that can endure whatever may come our way, we determined that there are certain capabilities that we need to create or improve.
One important task is to ensure we can take vast amounts of data and use it to make the most-informed decisions in caring for patients.
Health systems and hospitals have always been comfortable managing clinical risk, but as financial risk begins shifting even more to providers, the notion of managing financial risk becomes much more important.
Relationship-based care management as well as process-improvement capabilities and innovation will clearly be areas of importance in a changing environment.
And finally, developing the future workforce and our current employees might well be one of our most important skills looking ahead.
How We Succeed
Using the areas of focus in our new Baptist Health 2020 strategic plan, these are some examples of how we will succeed under each focus area.
When we think about access, we are not just talking about physical location. We talk about access as what, where, how, and when services are available to patients. This is where our work around telemedicine and virtual medicine becomes even more important, and urgent care centers provide a greater strategic reach.
Population health means identifying a defined population of people and then taking a more active role in helping manage health in a variety of settings. And it really does get to more of a relationship-based versus transaction-based care. It typically involves the health system being more accountable for costs and quality. This could mean developing strategies around Medicare or Medicaid populations, or working directly with an employer to create new health-care programs for their employees.
The point here is to create more highly reliable care. This means finding new ways to create a safer environment for patients and improve the overall patient experience. It also means we have to continue to develop strategies that will reduce variation in clinical quality. We have made tremendous strides in quality, but we must continue to find ways to improve.
We recognize that the continued development of our current and future workforce will be important for health-system success. Whether it’s growing our Baptist Health College or creating education programs for our own employees, this continued development prepares people to succeed in our health system of the future.
We recognized that when it comes to achieving big goals like improving the health of Arkansans that working with partners gives us a better chance for success. So you will begin to see Baptist Health more and more finding partners in the state and in the community to help us achieve our vision for the future.
While we learn to take on more risk and improve the health of populations and the community, we’ll need to continue to find ways for the health system to grow. This growth will come from new or expanded service offerings, geographic growth, or strategies like centers of excellence. And, it’s important for us to remember and recognize that all of the work that we plan to do over the next few years as part of the strategic plan will be based upon our mission, vision, values, and belief.
Committed to Our Faith-Based Values
As we approach our 100th anniversary, Baptist Health remains committed to the values of its founders who believed in the importance of faith-based health care and serving people throughout the community.
We are equally committed to evolving the health system to meet the changing needs of those we serve.
As important as it is to recognize what will be different about the Baptist Health of the future, it is equally important to recognize what will be the same.
Our mission of healing and providing faith-based health care will continue to be what differentiates Baptist Health from the rest.