'We are no longer on our home turf': Tampa General rethinks healthcare delivery

Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital has been on the forefront of leading transformational change and the redesign of healthcare delivery focused on the patient and care coordination, inside and outside the hospital's walls.

Peter Chang, MD, senior vice president and chief transformation officer, discussed how the system is changing on a recent episode of the "Becker's Healthcare Podcast."

"We can create the best hospital system in the world, but if patients aren't engaged and aren't doing the things we're advising them to do as partners in their health, then we haven't done anything," said Dr. Chang. "So we're doubling down around redesigning care around the home."

Tampa General's hospital at home program is a year-and-a-half old now and Dr. Chang said he's seeing great results because of the technology, data and connection. He said the system is flipping the script for providers as well, challenging them to plan their days around the needs and desires of patients instead of the clinic or hospital system.

"As we plan out our day on routes, we look at which patients need medicine earlier or need care sooner because they're a little bit higher acuity," he said. "We're completely changing the battlefield of medicine as we are no longer on our home turf. We're actually going into the patient's home providing care at a hospital inpatient level; these are not ambulatory patients or observation patients, they are sick folks."

Tampa General is finding ways to differentiate and diversify what can be done from the home, keeping patient safety the No. 1 priority. The system is planning to take other care into the home as well, including urgent care, primary care, subacute rehab and infusions.

"There's so many different options that we can offer to our patients. We just have to figure out how to scale it," he said. "Technology is going to have a huge role in that, and I'm going to say the buzzword, but we view artificial intelligence as such a valuable key in helping us prioritize our work."

AI can help physicians process information quickly, especially in making patient diagnoses. There are concerns with artificial intelligence, including inaccuracies and biases, but Dr. Chang said the right governance can make sure data is given to the right people to make decisions.

"As we stand on the precipice of some really amazing things in 2024, we have such excitement and energy around AI," said Dr. Chang. "One of the reasons to set up our governance structure is because so many different applications, ideas and products are coming into us from all different directions, which is a good thing. We have a lot of people excited about what the potential for AI is in medicine."

Dr. Chang and his team always weigh the benefits and risks of new technology before implementing it within the system. Tampa General takes a multidisciplinary approach to involve all stakeholders, including the finance, IT and clinical teams, to set guardrails on the technology brought into the system. Then comes change management, and leaders must have a growth mindset to embrace transformation.

"As we are continuing to grow and change, having the ability to say we're never going to be good enough, we'll always have areas to improve, and to me that's part of the growth mindset," Dr. Chang said. "No one is ever perfect. No process is ever perfect, and that idea of continuous improvement is something that's drastically needed in healthcare."

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