Big Changes Prep Medical Center for New Financial Realities

, March 17, 2014

Despite the high cost of its EHR conversion, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's CFO says the spending is justified because improving the organization's population health strategy, data collection and sharing capabilities will be critical for successful healthcare delivery in the near future.

Healthcare leaders know their industry is rapidly evolving to a reimbursement structure that rewards value instead of volume. To keep pace, hospitals and health systems are having to rethink their business and care delivery models to reduce the overall cost of providing care while simultaneously improving outcomes.

Edward Chadwick, executive vice president for finance and chief financial officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, a 1,004-bed academic health system based in Winston-Salem, NC, says these goals are central to his organization's big-picture strategies.

For starters, the $2 billion system broke down the silos that existed between its medical center and its school of medicine to dismantle the administrative barriers that kept it from functioning as efficiently as possible.

"Four and a half years ago, we went through a major transformation to prepare for a new model in healthcare," Chadwick says. "We actually created a truly integrated academic health system with the belief that it would put us in a better position for a future world."

"We developed a long-term financial plan that showed the trajectory of where our financial performance needs to be if we are to be able to make significant progress," he adds. "We are focused on supply chain, clinical care redesign, and moving toward population health management."

The heightened emphasis on organization-wide finance goals has also paid big dividends clinically, Chadwick says.


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