I've worked in healthcare for most of my career, but never have I seen the pace of change that our healthcare system is currently experiencing. It touches all of us - healthcare providers, employers, insurers, policymakers and, most importantly, our patients.
As the national and state healthcare landscape continues to shift dramatically - from the transformative and challenging evolution of private and public insurance, to the
Although change is what seems to describe our industry these days, there are constants that remain at the core of every hospital's mission: to provide high quality, safe care and to create a healthy
I frequently hear nationally about how many hospital's mission statements become fixtures on the wall beside strategic planning documents of the past, lacking relevance and meaning for staff, stakeholders, and the communities they serve. I can say with confidence that the 64 member hospitals and health systems of the WVHA do not fall into this category. Every day,
A generation ago, the hospital was the site for most care. Today, our hospitals have transitioned to also becoming modern outpatient centers for emergency department services, outpatient surgery and lab tests, to name a few hospital services. In fact, according to the
Our hospitals are not only embracing new technology to provide care in other settings, they are also incorporating new tech trends for patient treatment. Mobile health - includingpatientengagementapps, mobile-optimized patient portals and remote patient monitoring-are just a few examples. In fact, mobile and wireless devices, often referred to as "connected health tools," hold the promise of positively impacting the future delivery of patient care. These tools are projected to become increasingly important as our hospitals explore ways to provide quality care at a lower cost, while at the same time increasing satisfaction for patients.
Finally, when I started my career in healthcare, the hospital's role was to take in patients, place them in hospital beds, treat their conditions and make them better before discharging them home after a several-day stay. Today, the hospital coordinates with a network of post-acute providers and is tasked with taking care of the broader population, identifying the most dominant local health challenges and providing proactive care that keeps people out of those hospital beds.
It is stunning, this pace of change.
Whether it's a trend toward outpatient services; new technology or a greater emphasis on care coordination, our foundation rests on a mission that focuses on the patient and recognizes the important place that hospitals hold in our local community. It's also a foundation that recognizes the essential - modernized role - that our 44,000 hospital professionals play in our healthcare system.
In the pages that follow, you will read many excellent examples of how