First Things First: True health system integration requires big picture focus

One option to getting things done quickly is to just dive in. And in some cases, that is the best option. However, in a recent H&HN post, author Jeff Jones, urges healthcare organizations attempting to eliminate redundancies and create true integration to resist that instinct. Healthcare leaders who think that integration “is simply a series of operational assignments and a redrawing of the org chart” couldn’t be more wrong.

Jones argues that the process should focus on the purpose of integration and what is going to be measured.

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ISO and Taking Better Care of Patients

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, an independent organization with a membership of 163 national standards bodies that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. ISO-certification is something we pursued as an organization because of the value it brings to us and our clients. It means we meet quality and reliability standards that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors AND increase productivity.

Recently, Sentara Healthcare—a 12-hospital system, based in Virginia and North Carolina—adopted quality-management principles across its system that are based on a specific standard ISO 9001—continual improvement. Hospitals & Health Networks notes that the system is one of the first to take a system-focused approach using the non-healthcare-originated ISO 9001 standards.

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Integration: Early in the game of healthcare reform

At the recent annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco—“where Wall Street meets healthcare to talk business,” according to HealthLeaders the themes ranged from preparing for the newly insured to continuing the expansion of clinically integrated networks. The conference included both for-profit and not-for-profit health systems discussing what had helped make them successful in this early stage of healthcare reform.

Clinical integration is a hot topic for any healthcare system, regardless of profit status in this early stage of healthcare reform. And that’s because success is dependent on it. As Chicago-based Advocate Health Care executive vice president Lee B. Sacks MD noted at the conference, “Clinical integration has allowed us to advance in value-based care.”

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