Of course, while much of that reputation depends on the quality of the clinical care delivered at Geisinger, we've already seen that patients can't necessarily distinguish between a good and a poor clinical experience. They certainly are much more adept, however, at distinguishing between healthcare providers that waste their time versus those that don't and between systems that are convenient versus difficult to deal with.
At Geisinger, much of the work in determining access points and the necessary investment in those access points is done through the strategic planning team.
Thomas Charles, Geisinger's vice president of strategic planning, says there are four basic components to the system's strategic planning efforts:
- The market: This is what most people think about when they think about strategic planning. It involves the surveying of the external environment and your facility's place in it. Geisinger strives to be the glue that ties together a patchwork quilt of healthcare options for the community, says Charles, and to do that, it must try to work in concert with physician groups, allied healthcare providers, and even other acute care hospitals to make sure that patients can access quality care close to home. It may serve as some comfort to learn that even a multidimensional, nationally known health system can't do it on its own.
"Because of our integrated structure, we can offer a full continuum in many communities," Charles says. "But expanding that to include our partners as well is important because we see that as a fundamental mindset in terms of providing care to populations."
Geisinger is active in 31 counties, with a hospital in Wilkes Barre, the flagship medical center in Danville, and large ambulatory facilities in State College. "Those are our three hubs but we have partners in a broad geography," Charles says. "Because of how dispersed we are, we interface with a lot of other providers."