Mercy Hospital Washington has been selected as the base for a two-year health care study.
The project is designed to reinvent health care to get better results at a lower cost, Mercy said. When the “expected” approach for health care isn’t the best option, it’s time for a change, top Mercy officials added.
“We have to re-think pre-conceived notions of what health care looks like,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO. “Hospital care is on the endangered species list, and for good reason. We don’t want our hospital beds full of patients – we’d rather keep them healthy. It’s time to start with a clean slate and determine better ways to deliver care so our patients can enjoy their lives. That’s the best way to cut health care costs for everyone.”
With the task of reinventing health care, a 12-member core team of Mercy leaders from across Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas are devoting themselves to a two-year project called “Noah’s Ark.” The initiative was envisioned and named by Mike McCurry, Mercy executive vice president and chief operating officer. McCurry explained, “Just as Noah’s Ark was the vessel that carried people through the storm into a brighter future, the Noah’s Ark project will confront the market pressures that all health care providers are facing and chart the course for a better system of care.”
Core team members come from communities across Mercy and bring a variety of perspectives and talents to the project. Members include physicians and nurses, as well as leaders from hospital and clinic operations, finance, information technology, human resources, education and marketing/communications. Washington, Mo., serves as the home base and pilot community for Noah’s Ark, but the ultimate redesign will impact all Mercy communities.
“We are focused on two very simple concepts,” said Vance Moore, Mercy senior vice president of operations and leader of the Noah’s Ark project. “Recognizing that much about the health care system is broken, we are committed to figuring out how to provide care that meets the highest quality and service standards, at a cost that is affordable and sustainable. And, like Noah – as well as the Sisters of Mercy who founded our ministry – we must be courageous in envisioning a better health care system. We don’t know what the end result will be, but we have the freedom to chart our own course to get there.”
While Noah’s Ark team members will focus full time on reimagining the future of health care, they will seek input and ideas from other Mercy physicians and co-workers, as well as community members. All options are on the table, including new ways of managing patients with chronic conditions to keep them healthy, to expanded use of virtual care that allows patients greater access to specialists closer to home at a more affordable cost.
“The Noah’s Ark core team must have an unconstrained imagination. During this creative process we have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable – because the future of health care depends on it,” said Britton.