Epidemiological Principles and Health Care System Strategic Planning
The University of Washington Medical Center is ranked #6 for diabetes and endocrinology, #8 for cancer, #16 for neurology and neurosurgery, #23 for genetics, #26 for nephrology, as well as five other specialties. Specific to epidemiology, the opening section of the organization’s strategic plan states “…supports the three major activities that advance this mission: providing outstanding patient care and health promotion programs, advancing medical knowledge through research; and training the next generation of healthcare professionals and scientists.
The patient care, teaching and research activities must be integrated effectively to support better care for individual patients, better health for the population and reduced per capita costs for patients. ” Specific to the case study question see the following responses. 1. What contribution does the epidemiologic framework make toward accomplishing the hospital’s strategic goals? The University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) is an academic based health care organization affiliated with the University of Washington (University).
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The University has nationally ranked research programs in traditional health sciences as well as “population health. ” The translation of research initiatives of the University to practicing medicine is the corner stone of the UWMC’s strategic plan as indicated in the opening comments of the strategic plan. In addition to the comments noted above, the strategic plan also states as one of the seven objectives to “enhance the integration of UW Medicine’s research programs to promote rapid and effective translation of research from laboratory to clinical settings. The UWMC’s strategic plan has the enhancement of the integration of research, teaching and patient care as one of the five priority areas. It was clear in ready the strategic plan that UWMC saw the incorporation of research, translation of research to patient care, and the coordination of new care initiatives was efficacious to increasing the overall health of their patients and services areas, and in reducing the average cost per case.
Specific to the question, much of the research noted above is epidemiologically based and is meant to identify risk factors, lead to new treatment methods, as well as finding the origin of disease. . How does the strategic plan address the specific needs of the various stakeholders? The strategic plan does a great job at identifying patients, health care workers, providers, researchers, as well as the entire population in their service areas as identified stakeholders. It notes the organization will aim to increase the quality of care and patient experience. The improvement in the quality of care is primarily being derived through an increase in integration of care as well as integration of research into new patient care models.
The plan notes that UW will continue to focus on the education of the health care workers and attempt at filing health care workforce shortages. This education includes the translation of new research into care models. The strategic plan promotes the continued efforts as well as growth in research activities. The plan noted that the focus of research would be geared at studying their populations greatest health needs. However, the plan did not specify what those areas were.
It is not a stretch to assume those areas are similar to the key diseases and risk factors leading to disease as much of the country. There may be healthcare needs specific to the Pacific Northwest. In relation to the entire population, the plan notes that population health initiatives affecting the entire service area are important as well. 3. Do you feel the strategic plan, as stipulated, will be effective in helping the organization maintain its marketplace position relative to other organizations serving the same customers or possessing the same resources?
I do feel the strategic plan will be effective in growing their marketplace position, expanding their customer base, and grow their resources through newly created revenue and a capital structure. In the past year, UWMC has affiliated and taken control of governance from a large tertiary hospital in a suburban location in Renton, WA and opened primary care offices in key secondary, tertiary, and quaternary locations expanding the web of the UWMC network. The strategic plan stated the continuation of expansion in key market locations and in shortage areas. UWMC has a strong balance sheet and state budget dollars to help fund initiatives.
In addition, UWMC sees epidemiological studies leading to better care of the overall population as the key driver to increasing the health of the population while reducing the cost per case. The UWMC strategic plan seems both realistic and innovative. It was refreshing to read a major healthcare institution adopt the same principle we are learning in this graduate program. It’s important to note that it appears a salient contributor to a hospital making the nationally ranking list of US News is the organization’s involvement with research and academics, and the translation of research into clinical care models.
Per review of the strategic plan and operating structure of top performers such as the Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins, University of Michigan Medical Center, and University of Washington versus others that were not ranked such as Central Florida Health Alliance, Florida Hospital, Providence Health & Services, the unranked entities do not have a research component mentioned in the strategic plan of the organization. The strategic plan appeared generic and focused on Health Reform from a financial and patient quality perspective; and failed to link patient quality or financial incentives to population health initiatives.