Over the last decade, health care systems all over the country have had to adapt to many changes taking place in the industry that we simply weren’t ready for. That includes modifications to the payer market brought on by the Affordable Care Act, the development of new models of care by companies outside of health care, and the emergence of new technologies and devices for clinical use.
While we have welcomed these changes and adjusted as necessary, we also realized we don’t need to sit on the sidelines and wait for change to happen to us. We need to be proactively influencing it. For OSF HealthCare, that has meant focusing our strategy on constantly assessing and improving the work we do today. It’s meant growing our Ministry through the development of unique partnerships. And it’s meant anticipating the needs of our communities and innovating to meet those needs.
This transformation that began in 2011 has required a shift in mindset not only for leadership, but for every Mission Partner within OSF. Even today, we continue to build this culture throughout our organization. While it’s difficult work, it’s also helped the organization quickly rise up as a leader in the disruption of health care. Here are five ways we continue to take charge of our destiny as a health care organization.
1. Identifying problems
It starts with data. The health care industry is still fairly new to determining how to use all of the data that comes from the people we serve. That leads many of us to be data-rich, but information poor. At OSF, we’ve developed and continue to grow our capability to integrate internal and external data from a variety of sources to reveal insights about not only our health care system, but our patients and communities. However, we know we can take this a step further by drilling down and using these insights to identify problems both within our system and for our patients.
2. Removing friction
Once we’ve identified problems, we have to determine points of friction for our patients and for the Ministry as a whole, keeping those in mind as we work towards solutions. This means taking the time to listen to end-users. If we hear concerns from patients about why they have to submit their insurance card every time they go to the doctor’s office then we will work to fix that experience. If we have a provider who tells us she has to click through ten tabs on her computer to serve a patient, we will find ways to streamline that process.
We know our problems and we understand our points of friction. How do we get down to solving these issues? Collaboration. I know it feels like an overused word in the process of innovation, but there’s a reason for that. It’s because it works. There is no one person who has all of the ideas all of the time. Innovation requires bringing the right people to the table, including those impacted by a problem and those with various backgrounds. It also requires looking to the outside for help when needed. Sometimes, we just need a fresh set of eyes to take a look at an issue from a different perspective. You never know where a great idea might emerge.
4. WOWing ideas to life, and not HOWing them to death
Taking a cue from leadership author, Andy Stanley, we’ve embraced the concept of “Wowing ideas to life.” What exactly does this mean? Coming from an operations background, I can attest to bringing up the reasons why a certain solution won’t work: “We won’t get reimbursed for that!” “That’s not how we’ve always done it.” “That will cost too much.” However, when we have this mentality, it can lead to a shutdown of ideas. Instead, we should open our eyes to the possibilities! The worst that can happen is a failure. But as long as we’ve learned something along the way, we can pivot and develop a solution that’s even better.
5. Developing a new business model
Let’s say all of the research, data-mining and collaboration we have done has led us to an idea we’ve never done before. In our case, that has meant coming up with new models of care. As an example, we heard from people in our communities that our primary and prompt care hours weren’t matching their needs. As a result, we developed the Urgo model to support populations differently with quicker visit turnarounds, expanded hours and daily access. While this idea was transformational in 2018, it quickly became the norm for many people living in our communities and has attracted hundreds of individuals to seek OSF HealthCare services who have never been patients before.
Transforming health care
Identifying problems, removing friction, collaboration, wowing ideas to life and developing new business models are just some of the ways we are staying ahead of the game when it comes to transforming the future of health care on our own terms. But we are also prepared for those times when outside forces disrupt the industry in ways we have not anticipated.
The important thing is to be open to change no matter where it comes from, especially if it means better care for our patients and the communities we serve.