Behind the scenes at MemorialCare

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | October 18, 2021
From the October 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: With the CTO title, in this case with the T for “transformation,” are there training courses or other formal education tied to the role?
HM: No, there’s no degree program to be a chief transformation officer. Usually the folks I know who do this kind of work have evolved. Most of them are clinical. I have a clinical background — pharmacy, nursing, medical, etc. We somehow have that identified skill which is that we’ve worked in the healthcare system, we have a lot of experience in what it takes to do it well. Many of us have a very good facilitative ability to be able to take people and the challenges in front of them and be able to take them from here to there to figure out what will work to redesign the system. I think the last skill is the ability to inspire people to get them to think we can change. A lot of health care was built maybe since World War II — so roughly 80 years — ago and so many aspects of healthcare have evolved over that time, yet in some cases we’re still working in the some of those same buildings from back then. Really, there’s a lot of processes and technologies and tools and complexity that have happened in just 80 years. Transformation is about taking that and taking it from wherever you are now to a better “where,” so we can make It more reliable and simpler for folks to work in a system, provide that great quality and safety and basically plan for the future to make health care amazing.

HCB News: Prior to the pandemic, what were the biggest challenges facing MemorialCare?
HM: We’ve really grown as a system. When I first joined, we were more hospital-focused. Since 2010, we have a whole array of focus on providing care where people work and live. We now have a medical group, a physician organization out there in our communities, ambulatory care — surgery, imaging, dialysis, physical therapy, along with our hospitals. It’s really been about growing MemorialCare into this amazing jewel in our area. Because of that, we’re being tapped on the shoulder by many health plans and employers to provide care for their members or beneficiaries. It’s really about creating that whole system safety not just for hospitals, but across the whole ambulatory network. That was one of the challenges.

Another great example is working on something called ease and access. We’re about transforming and revolutionizing care. Part of that is making it easy and accessible for people to reach us. I think some of that has to do with safety as well. For example, we’ve put together key things so people can find us online, digitally or human interactions. We have a navigation system we’ve put up where people can call for help to connect their care. We have advice nurses available 24/7 that can help people with their questions. We have online scheduling for appointments. It’s just about making it very easy for people to get in for their care and helping them to navigate their care. While it may not sound like a traditional safety project if you will, helping people navigate their care and get connected is probably one of the best things we can do so that they get great advice and get timely care even during the time of pandemic.

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