Imagine having a unique leadership role and charter to disrupt healthcare as we know it today and have it designed for us the patient. Sounds logical yet few have led the way. We do have disruptors in healthcare using mobile platforms; however, I met with my friend Bruce Swartz who leads Physician integration at Dignity Health, the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California to learn about their transformation in healthcare. Bruce leads integration of physician practices for Dignity Health and is building a patient experience with a foundation of technology that defines “care of the future” in entirely new ways. I caught up with Bruce to learn how he sees this unfolding for this generation.
Sherry Benjamins: Bruce, it seems you have a very positive outlook about healthcare today. Tell me about that.
Bruce: I do have a positive outlook and we are focused on the future. We are seeing the entry of Amazon, Apple, and Google, for example and we must maximize the applications of electronic records to create true sustaining clinical integration. Through Population Health initiatives, we have an aggregation of patient data across multiple technology platforms. The analysis of that data into a single, actionable patient record is possible and our line of sight is to improve systems and clinical outcomes. When I first joined Dignity, six years ago, we were not connected and are now single instance linked throughout the Dignity Health enterprise which facilitates improved patient outcomes and lower costs.
SB: How will you define this patient experience?
Bruce: Exceptional service and positive member experience is the answer. For example, we are launching a fully integrated patient contract center to support the improved patient experience from end to end that not only meets your scheduling requirements, but also facilitates population health outcomes. Eventually we will utilize Artificial Intelligence, and robotics in both the ambulatory and acute settings. In fact, we are already we are looking at artificial intelligence to support scribing services for our providers. . That stated, we intend never to lose sight of the importance of the human connection throughout the Dignity Health enterprise.
Care of the future means newer and more efficient and patient centered clinics. We took 42 people at all levels of our system and had them meet for almost a year as a task force to design the clinic they would want to work in. This will be a footprint for the future and define how care is delivered. Efficiency, better working experiences for our employees and patients is the driving force for this change. Our goal is to create a delightful experience for all.
SB: Will virtual care take off?
Bruce: Today, we are designing pilots that will offer virtual visits. We are in the early stage here at Dignity but see the infrastructure to complement or go beyond the clinic when it makes sense. There are many start-ups that are offering high end concierge and mobile apps. We will learn a lot in the next few years and incorporate this into our transformation as well.
SB: What advice do you have for our heads of HR who are looking at designing new benefit plans for their workers?
Bruce: Don’t be afraid to be more prescriptive with your workforce. Not everyone will be happy. Creating options and offering different plans to support more personalization matters. We now have almost five generations working at the same time. Workers will have to support some of the cost. Integrating wellness initiatives is well meaning, but we have seen that the people utilizing those programs already value good health and understand they have a stake in the game to manage their wellness. I recommend wellness initiatives that require a “stake in the game.” It is a very exciting time to look at revolutionizing care which goes beyond the clinical practice. We are trailblazing and engaging our leaders to truly hear from our patients and workers about the future they imagine serves us all.
Conclusion by Sherry
Uber and Lyft disrupted the transportation industry. There are so many other examples. It is exciting to hear about the disruptions in patient care as Bruce describes it. The largest providers are not going away – however the focus has shifted to member engagement, care management, leading to healthier populations.
I am encouraged that organizations like Dignity Health are replacing old structures with healing environments and designs that will delight a patient and improve outcomes. Why not be a central place for the wellbeing of mind, body and spirit in health? The old system can no longer afford a focus on disease at the exclusion of wellness and self-health managing. As consumers of healthcare, we are getting pretty sophisticated in choice making. I look forward to a day when we can embrace a conversation about our care with a positive, data-rich and informed outlook.