AdventHealth's 50-year legacy and what comes next

As Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth celebrates 50 years as a health system, CEO Terry Shaw shared his learnings with Becker's from the organization's past, while looking ahead to how he sees healthcare and AdventHealth evolving in the coming years.

Question: How has AdventHealth grown over the past 50 years, and how has this impacted patients and communities?

Terry Shaw: The growth and impact of AdventHealth over the past 50 years can be attributed to our relevance in the communities we serve, driven by our wholehearted commitment to our mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ. This faith-based mission is our differentiator and has not only contributed to our growth, but also how we’ve chosen to grow.

In the past 50 years, we've grown from being a consortium of various hospital brands to a united, connected system of care that includes everything from highly-advanced comprehensive care hospitals with 100-year legacies to cutting-edge health parks built around consumers' healthcare habits. Leveraging the scale and synergy of being under one brand has helped all areas of our system learn from the best of what's working and collaborate on solutions for what needs work. 

Our whole-person care philosophy has always been part of our roots. There’s a connection between the body, mind and spirit that cannot be ignored. Over the years we've found new ways to embed this philosophy into our operations so a wholistic experience can be consistently delivered to every person, every time. 

We've also invested in technologies that have led to breakthroughs not only in care outcomes and patient experience, but also in the coordination of wholistic care across the system to make it easier for people to take control of their health. 

As consumer needs and expectations evolve, I think those who make healthcare easier to use will remain relevant and make a huge difference in improving peoples' health.

Q: How does the healthcare industry need to evolve to meet the changing needs of patients and those who care for them?

TS: I'm particularly interested in the evolution of healthcare economics and the way it can shift to keeping patients well in the first place and returning them to their best health when needed, rather than focusing solely on sick care. 

Historically, care has been more episodic and reactive. Now, we're seeing a shift that encourages proactive, preventive and value-based care delivered by a healthcare partner that's there for life. We aim to do more than treat diseases. We want to help people feel whole. So we're leaning into this shift and building experiences — and more importantly, life-long relationships — that will set us up to excel in this space.

The industry's shift toward proactive care is also something we're embracing for our own team members. We've made a pledge to our team members that sets a high standard of how we care for them physically, mentally and spiritually. We invest heavily in our team members to ensure competitive pay and benefits, career development, educational growth, an inclusive environment and a network of opportunities to thrive. 

We care for people through people, so making an investment in our teams creates a ripple effect that enhances our care and the health and prosperity of our communities. 

Q: As AdventHealth looks ahead to the next 50 years, what are some of the biggest challenges you see facing the organization and the healthcare industry as a whole, and how do you plan to address them?

TS: Healthcare's next half century will be full of both challenges and opportunities. The deadlines to address rising healthcare costs, fragmented systems, shifting workforce dynamics, an aging population and the pressing need for health equity are already past due. These issues will worsen significantly in the next 50 years if we don't make serious advancements now. 

At AdventHealth, our journey to confront these challenges are already in motion. We're addressing this head-on through major investments in consumer-centric technologies and creating new experiences that make healthcare more accessible and easier to navigate. We’re also building a new Primary Health Division focused on caring for the growing 65+ community through a proactive, wholistic approach. 

I believe every person is a child of God with infinite value. This means we have a responsibility to provide individualized care that meets people where they are and embraces all areas of their lives that can affect their health. To make sure everyone has equal access to wholeness, we have a robust strategy to analyze and address health disparities in our facilities and in the communities we serve.

Reflecting on our organization's 50 years of progress and blessings reminds me that our mission and culture will always guide us in the right direction. There's still a great deal of work to do, but I couldn't be prouder of our skilled, mission-driven teams who work so diligently and with such unity to ensure we can deliver and deepen our promise of wholeness today and into the future.

Terry Shaw is president and CEO of AdventHealth.

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