by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | August 14, 2018
From the August 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HCB News: How fast has Stanford Health Care’s list of satellite sites grown, and how many sites do you anticipate will be added in the next few years?
What I want to make sure of as we grow, is that the satellites are there to bring high quality medical care closer to home for our patients. For example, we just opened a facility in Emeryville to provide easier access. During certain times of the day, it’s a two-hour drive from Palo Alto, so providing services there for patients is a real win for them. Throughout our network, we’re growing the size of the footprint to meet the demand for our services. For the services we offer, we try to augment our flagship centers to reflect the needs of the community as opposed to having a “build it and they will come” mentality. Quite frankly, a significant portion of growth for us is in outpatient care, so our focus is on ensuring that our patients receive the right care, at the right time, and in the right setting.
HCB News: How do you keep all your providers on the same page in regard to following patient progress across different locations?
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We spend a lot of time and energy making sure we communicate in multiple voices and through various channels. In fact, this week, I’m holding two employee forums, which I do on a fairly consistent basis and other members of our executive team do as well. It’s an effort to find out the best ways to keep the organization connected. It’s easier on our main campus to do that, but it’s important to do that at the satellite locations as well. In addition, we recently launched the same patient record system at two of our satellite locations, so that – no matter where our patients receive their care – the experience and access to data are the same.
HCB News: Do you ever use satellite sites as test runs for new technologies or approaches?
We do. For example, there’s a facility in Santa Clara where we’ve tested a lot of our new technology. In fact, a technology I mentioned above, the voice recognition equipment, is being tested there. It does make it a bit more flexible testing technology in a smaller setting.
HCB News: What are your predictions on how healthcare should change and how it might change over the next five to 10 years?
I hear a lot of people talking about artificial intelligence. It’s one of those differentiators in our field. We’re collecting exobytes of information in such a way that it allows us to garner trends, patterns, etc. So digital pathology is something that is exciting in that way. Pre-reads done by computers that look through this information would be an application of that piece.
Another example would be clinical genomics. By using whole-exome sequencing to search for genetic disorders, we’re able to diagnose up to 25 percent of the patients who had previously gone undiagnosed for genetic diseases.
Another ongoing change will be the shift from inpatient to outpatient. Even though we’re building this world-class facility, outpatient will continue to be a driver for our organization. I think we’ll also see consolidation continue and systems coming together.
In the future, I hope that healthcare becomes more transparent for our patients and all other stakeholders. I know we’ll continue to build on the quality of data and experience of care. The industry has been slow to do this, but we’re getting better.