Jefferson Health reports success 2 years into GE partnership: 6 questions with Chief Integration Officer Kathleen Kinslow

Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health embarked on an eight-year shared-risk partnership with GE Healthcare in July 2017 to optimize its patient care strategy.

Now, almost two years later, Becker's Hospital Review caught up with Jefferson Health to learn more about the partnership's progress.

The goal is to generate between $500 million and $1 billion in savings by removing redundancies and maximizing sourcing throughout the health system's locations in Pennsylvania.

One of the project's core tenants is using technology to improve strategic growth, operations, integration and performance opportunities.

"With the healthcare industry facing unprecedented levels of patient demand and increasing cost pressures, it's great to see health systems like Jefferson seek new and innovative ways to improve better outcomes for patients," John Flannery, CEO and chairman-elect of GE, said in a news release at the time the partnership was announced.

"This collaboration, which is financially tied to our shared success, demonstrates the confidence we have to jointly deliver world-class healthcare for the community," Mr. Flannery added.

Becker's Hospital Review spoke with Jefferson Health Executive Vice President and Chief Integration Officer Kathleen Kinslow, EdD, who expanded on the project's logistics, results and impact to physicians and other hospital staff.

Editor's Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What steps did your organization and GE Healthcare take to develop this shared-risk model?

Dr.  Kathleen Kinslow: The goal of this collaboration is to create a forward-looking, robust health system by removing redundancies and maximizing sourcing efficiencies. Through a shared-risk model that aligns the economic interests of Jefferson Health with GE Healthcare, both organizations have agreed to critical milestones that must be achieved throughout the relationship. The joint team is focused on strategic growth, advanced clinical transformation, revenue optimization and operational efficiency, while leveraging technology to deliver best-in-class, seamless care that is convenient and affordable for patients.

Q: What are some specific results to date that you can share?

KK: The team — dubbed One Jefferson — built a foundation for ongoing enterprise transformational change: operating mechanism redesign in close collaboration with operational and financial leaders to drive accountability and results, tools to assure execution rigor, and key performance indicator dashboard design and launch to track results. This Jefferson-GE-led team was developed to drive strategic integration and execution, along overall performance improvement across the health system.

The team worked closely with physician and operational leaders to position the enterprise for growth in 2019 — opening latent capacity, redesigning physician scheduling templates, driving targeted access improvement and ease of scheduling and shaping plans to improve care retention.

Some other examples include transitioning our biomedical services to GE Healthcare, blending the experience of our Jefferson team with the technology, depth and national expertise of our GE partners, as well as aligning technology throughout the enterprise across select categories and standardizing equipment — a key step to decreasing the variability in care.

Q: How have you seen this relationship evolve over the last year and a half? What areas do you see focusing on in the future that are different than those you are focusing on now?

KK: The first full year of the Jefferson-GE Healthcare strategic relationship positioned us well for accelerating the pace and impact of innovation in 2019. Despite rapid expansion through acquisition, many system changes and the constantly changing external environment, Jefferson and GE Healthcare exceeded the financial targets set for the system and have built a foundation that now has us poised to truly begin to transform the way care is delivered. We expect to amplify innovation across the enterprise and focus on growth. We will accelerate change and build sustainability by engaging divisional leadership as well as system leaders. Working together, we also will continue enhancing report automation and predictive analytics support to give leaders at all levels the information they need to quickly course correct when outcomes are not meeting goals and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

Q: How is this different than other vendor or consulting arrangements?

KK: We deliberately designed our partnership model to respond to uncertainty and change. The One Jefferson team had many opportunities in the first year of our strategic partnership to leverage this unique approach, moving efficiently and adjusting with alacrity in real time.

Q: How does this type of relationship accelerate Jefferson's ability to achieve its strategic vision?

KK: We are working to build deep relationships and embed GE Healthcare leaders and professionals across the Jefferson teams, working side-by-side with Jefferson leadership to help activate change. In the end, this malleable approach enables the focus to remain on delivering the best care possible for patients. Together, we are charting a new course by taking the necessary steps today that will help shift the healthcare paradigm.

Q: What technologies do you think are imperative for hospitals in 2019?

KK: As we move into the next phase of our work together, we are reimagining how our patients access the system. We are leveraging GE Healthcare's capabilities to build real-time and predictive analytics to support moving our patients through the system more seamlessly and with a better experience; improve outcomes for patients and their families; enhance employee and clinician satisfaction; and increase efficiency for Jefferson Health.

An example is CORE, our Center for Operational and Resource Efficiency, and its ability to corral data from across a myriad of systems within Jefferson and feed the data to the GE Analytics Engine. The Analytics Engine then displays real-time data on clinical and operational measures and provides predictive analytics based on these measures that drive clinical and operational activities. CORE will leverage real-time and predictive information to get the patient to the right care facility and care level.

GE Healthcare has also designed a digital "twin" of Jefferson Health as a simulator. On a day-to-day basis, the digital twin informs actions required to enable seamless care for a growing patient population. It also provides a way to compare different scenarios, testing alternative strategic assumptions to determine how operators and clinicians must alter processes and resources to succeed under these scenarios. The simulator provides a high-fidelity view of what different scenarios would mean in terms of modeling bed base, operating room schedules, process targets and program planning.  The strategic outcome is that this technology allows us to work with the clinicians to make the necessary process redesign to improve quality and efficiency while avoiding unintended outcomes.

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