Ascension's John Doyle: Staying true to core values while innovating for the future

Since its creation in 1999, Ascension has grown to become the largest faith-based nonprofit system in the nation. The St. Louis-based health giant has achieved success by living up to its mission and finding innovative ways to transform care delivery.

At the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual CEO Roundtable + CFO/CIO Roundtable in Chicago, John Doyle, executive vice president of Ascension and president and CEO of Ascension Holdings, offered insight into how the health system has achieved such significant growth.

Mr. Doyle said his job at Ascension is to think about things that haven't been done yet but that could be needed for the future. "Transformation is a never-ending journey," he said.

Although Mr. Doyle always has an eye on the future, he also highlighted the importance of staying committed to the values the system was founded on — to provide healthcare that is safe, that works and leaves no one behind. "We believe healthcare is a right, and too many of our brothers and sisters are left out," he said.

Last year, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in charity care, but the system could still do better, according to Mr. Doyle.

Ascension's core values and mission have remained the same, but the system has changed over time and will continue to innovate in the future. That includes the payment models it uses. Ascension sees a bright future using value-based payment models. "We ultimately believe the move to value-based care is the right idea," said Mr. Doyle.

One example of how Ascension is changing the way healthcare is provided lies less than 500 miles south of Florida in the Cayman Islands. There is a story behind how the health system made its way there.

India's most renowned heart surgeon Devi Shetty, MBBS, is chairman of Narayana Health, a system of 26 hospitals across India that are specialized for cardiac care. He wanted to take a model of healthcare that already achieved significant success in India and transfer it to the Cayman Islands. In 2014, Narayana Health partnered with Ascension to make that a reality and create Health City Cayman Islands. Stemming from Dr. Shetty's vision that no one's socioeconomic status should determine their access to healthcare, Health City's primary focus is making healthcare accessible and affordable to the masses.

Mr. Doyle said Dr. Shetty spends his time as a relentless cost controller. Quoting Dr. Shetty, Mr. Doyle said, "A solution that people can't afford is not a solution." He said those words not only helped form the vision behind Health City, but they should also resonate with leaders of health systems across the nation.

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