Magazine article Talent Development

Climbing the Healthcare Summit: A Long-Term Strategic Plan Comes to Fruition to the Benefit of Employees, Patients, and the Community

Magazine article Talent Development

Climbing the Healthcare Summit: A Long-Term Strategic Plan Comes to Fruition to the Benefit of Employees, Patients, and the Community

Article excerpt


When a health system spans 16 counties across North Texas, it is imperative to find a way to unify employees across the organization. Texas Health Resources has accomplished this by creating the THR Promise: Individuals Caring for Individuals, Together. It's five words, but for Texas Health employees the THR Promise represents the fabric of our culture and the essence of what we do. It is a rallying cry and a tangible reminder of what we do-and why we do it-each day.

For the past decade, Texas Health has been executing a strategic plan called the Ascent to the Summit. As the organization nears the end of that climb with a stronger strategic footing in place, the THR Promise continues to unify and strengthen us as we move into a journey toward becoming a high-reliability organization transforming the way healthcare is delivered.

Laying the groundwork

In 2009, Texas Health Resources launched its master brand, bringing three hospital systems-Presbyterian, Harris Methodist, and Arlington Memorial-together under one name.

We chose the name carefully to reflect our heritage as Texans; our commitment to keep people well-mind, body, and spirit; and the strength of our size, drawing off the talents and commitment of more than 25,000 employees, volunteers, and physicians on the medical staff. Our commitment also remains steadfast to Texas Health's mission of improving the health of the people in the communities we serve, and to our vision and values.

Like many organizations with multiple locations, Texas Health has striven to provide enterprise-wide solutions where possible. Texas Health was one of the first health systems to deploy the electronic health record across the organization, taking several years for the rollout to ensure orderly transitions and to build off cycles of learning at each facility. Now that the system has been in place for several years, we're moving to the next cycle of learning: how to more effectively use our data.

Integrating the system

In the past decade, Texas Health has shifted from an acute care hospital company to an integrated health system. In 2009, Texas Health Physicians Group was formed, creating a base of employed physicians who work with Texas Health on numerous objectives.

Today, the group includes more than 830 physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and medical professionals dedicated to providing safe, quality care for its patients. The Texas Health Physicians Group's primary care and specialist network represents more than 50 medical specialties, with more than 250 locations spanning 11 North Texas counties.

In addition to harnessing technology to help fulfill Texas Health's mission, we are continually evaluating the best way to structure our leadership. As part of that work, the system created three zones as we unified our brand under the Texas Health name. We wanted to align the focus of Texas Health providers facing similar geographic-related challenges and opportunities. The goal was to better provide coordinated care across the full continuum while improving the patient experience and reducing duplication of services, all of which translate into better value for the customer.

In 2012, we created two new positions for each of the three zones: an operations leader and a clinical leader. This model is mirrored at the system executive level with a chief operating officer and a chief clinical officer. At the hospital level, the president and chief medical officer of each facility are joined with a chief nursing officer to create a triad of decision making.

Texas Health continues to build its bench strength in leadership. The Physicians Lead! Program brings together physicians to learn management and leadership skills. And many of the system's chief nursing officers have earned doctoral degrees.

Integrating the system has included elevating the role of nursing so caregivers systemwide are using competencies at the top of their licenses, helping to provide care that is high in value and quality. …

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