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Medical, Administrative Leaders Demonstrate Power of Collaboration

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, April 14, 2011
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When the Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital was launched in 2002, there was an immediate challenge: to have the physician and medical center co-owners work in sync to deliver high-quality patient outcomes and achieve healthy fiscal outcomes. Over time, the hospital leadership established a multidisciplinary approach that emphasized data sharing through detailed planning to run a smooth integrated system.

Development of that cooperative arrangement was the focus of discussion at the Feb. 15 HealthLeaders Media Rounds event, “Cardiac Care Leadership for Improved Alignment and Outcomes,” held at BHVH and featuring its leaders and those from the Baylor Health Care System, Wellmont Cardiology Services, and the Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute.

BHVH opened as the first joint venture hospital within Baylor Health Care System with the purpose, its officials say, of aligning physicians and hospital administration for heart and vascular patients. The hospital is 49% owned by a physician partnership and 51% by Baylor University Medical Center.

Physician leaders and administrative staff collaborate under the framework of “leadership as partnership” to carry out the joint hospital alignment, says Kevin Wheelan, MD, chief of staff at BHVH. “We have an open environment, very open disclosure, where data is a very critical element of
our process.”

“All of the physicians have bought into our vision and mission of what this hospital is, not just about the economic vehicle; it’s about achieving excellence in providing a commitment to the community and [an] environment where we can practice the art of medicine,” says Wheelan.

The leadership framework has been built around meetings of medical leadership and administration that address issues of quality, service, people, and finance, Wheelan says. Various committees, such as physician leadership councils and special focus groups, tackle governance and patient care issues. A physician leadership development program provides training for physician champions—those who are considered high-level doctors in quality and safety in specialty core areas.

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