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Former AHA Chairman Priselac, others share strategies for taking hospitals to the future

July 23, 2012
  To achieve payment and delivery system reform, hospitals and health systems must “improve quality and bend the cost curve for the entire system, not just selected segments of the system,” said former AHA Chairman Tom Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles, during aHealth Affairs conference last week in Washington, DC.

Priselac, who served as AHA chairman in 2009 when Congress was considering the health reform legislation, described strategies detailed in “Hospitals and Care Systems of the Future,” a report produced last year by the AHA Committee on Performance Improvement. Strategies include aligning hospitals, physicians and other providers across the continuum of care; using evidence-based practices to improve quality and patient safety; improving efficiency through productivity and financial management; and developing integrated information systems. At Cedars-Sinai, Priselac said the centerpiece of those efforts is a systemwide care innovation strategy called Cedars-Sinai Medicine. “It comes down to the right patient being cared for in the right setting at the right time using the right resources every time, and in the process increasing value for those who pay for the care,” he said.

Priselac participated in a panel on implementing health care payment and delivery system reforms moderated by former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick, M.D. Another panelist, John Koster, M.D., president and CEO of Providence Health & Services in Renton, WA, said that “innovation reliably implemented across scale” is a theme for his system’s 32 hospitals spread across five states.

Health information technology plays an important role in his organization’s effort to improve patient care. Providence Health & Services collects 1.9 million data elements per day and creates algorithms that are used to help caregivers manage patient treatment.

“We have to make it easier to do the right thing than it is to do the wrong thing,” Koster said.

However, he said it is critical for payment reform to come quickly because “the more and more we do good things in this really screwed up fee-for-service world, we’re going to drive ourselves out of business.”

 

By Pete Davis