Sorenson expected to help guide transformation with expertise on clinical and operational best practices.
Charles Sorenson, MD, is joining the board at Renton, Washington-based Providence St. Joseph Health. His appointment is the latest in a trend in which large health system boards are adding members with specialized expertise to their boards to help them reorient to the patient in implementing clinical and operational best practices.
Sorenson should fit well on a board that advises fellow physician leader Rod Hochman, MD, PSJH's president and CEO, who's executing a bold vision of growth and transformation.
Sorenson, who retired as Intermountain Healthcare's president and CEO about a year and a half ago to make way for current President and CEO Marc Harrison, MD, could help PSJH further transform the organization into one that produces better outcomes for patients at lower costs.
While CEO at Intermountain, Sorenson led an organizational transformation to focus on patient welfare as the holistic center of healthcare decision-making. If that sentiment sounds like it should be self-evident in healthcare, those who lead healthcare organizations know it isn't, necessarily.
"We are honored to welcome this exceptional physician executive to our board," said Rod Hochman, MD, president and CEO, Providence St. Joseph Health, in a press release. "His experience and vision will be invaluable as we work to serve our communities.”
We went into some detail about how PSJH plans to integrate the now seven-state, 50-hospital system in our most recent cover story, including speaking to Hochman about his vision. PSJH is still digesting its 2016 merger with St. Joseph Health even as it considered growing even bigger earlier this year, before ultimately tabling merger discussions with Ascension.
Look for Sorenson to add expertise in at least three key areas for PSJH:
- Leadership development: Since his retirement, Sorenson has led Intermountain Healthcare's Leadership Institute, a program designed for select high-potential health system leaders. Intermountain and other health systems send top up-and-comers there to learn how to incorporate what Sorenson calls "principle-based decision making" into their leadership styles.
- Cost control: Sorenson's eight-year tenure at Intermountain was preceded by his role as executive vice president and chief operating officer at the health system for 10 years. He knows where the costs are, and he knows how to get them out. He implemented systemwide best practices for increasing efficiency and controlling costs while continuing to practice—primarily in urologic oncology surgery.
- Aligning incentives: He's extremely interested in finding ways to align healthcare incentives so that keeping people healthy benefits not only the patient but every entity involved in providing their care—clearly not the case in healthcare today. He changed the mission statement at Intermountain from providing excellence in providing healthcare services to helping people live the healthiest lives possible. He's big on data and using that data to measure whether the interventions performed on patients truly help them live healthier lives.
Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.