Real Issues : Real Solutions
Baptist Health System Turnaround in recession
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BAPTIst Health System
“As a team, leadership held focus groups to find out
improved physician satisfaction. All this through the
what our values meant to employees in the context of
lowest point in America’s recession.
the workplace and performing their daily roles.”
“We are really trying to challenge ourselves to think
Baptist Health System includes four hospitals, 40
In the face of healthcare reform, tightening costs and coordinating independent and hospital-employed physicians, healthcare systems are seeking innovative ways to provide care and create a positive environment for employees. Baptist Health System in Birmingham, Alabama, chose to use the organization’s mission and values to reinvigorate the process of providing care, improving quality indicators as well as finances.
healthcare,” Spees said. “We have to step back and
as well as nine senior housing facilities. The organiza-
look at where we have opportunities to change the
tion’s mission incorporates its values as guidance for
way we provide and manage healthcare. We’ve chosen
providing care and establishing goals: As a witness
to approach this as a team, which is not easy. It was
to the love of God, revealed through Jesus Christ, the
a cultural shift for us as an organization.” With about
Baptist Health System is committed to ministries that
4,300 employees in the organization, redefining the
enhance the health, dignity and wholeness of those
working culture was no small task.
we serve through Integrity, Compassion, Advocacy, Resourcefulness, and Excellence. Using this mission as a guide, Baptist went from
“As a longstanding, faith-based organization, we have a rich history and strong mission,” said Shane Spees, President and CEO. “I made an effort to meet with employees, physicians, business owners and others to get an impression of where we stood in the market and find opportunities for improvement. I noticed that we weren’t living out a strong sense of mission daily.
innovatively and differently about our approach to
physician practices, independent physician locations,
Importance of leadership and teamwork
having operating losses of around $25 million in 2007
Baptist took a team approach to developing goals and
to operating income of almost $2 million in fiscal
changing the culture, with the System’s mission state-
year 2010. The System also made progress in operat-
ment as their guiding principle in all changes.
ing and clinical quality indicators over the past three
“In a team-based approach, we all understand
years, performing in the top 10 percent nationally
we’re responsible for our goals,” Spees said. “We all
in many areas. In addition, the health system has
have individual targets and objectives to reach, but we
HCE EXCHANGE MAGAZINE Real Issues : Real Solutions
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formulate our plans in a team environment. We also
and human resource leadership systems, which
He also said the system just broke ground on a project
have critical success factors at the System level: mis-
included investing in leadership tools and coaching.
at its largest hospital—Princeton Baptist—to renovate
sion, excellence and engagement. All planning we do
With strong leadership, Baptist was able to focus on
90,000 square feet of existing space and add 60,000
relates to those success factors.“
employee and physician engagement and improving
square feet. The project is estimated for three years,
Using the critical success factors, which relate back to
the work area to meet the needs of employees
and Spees said when complete, the hospital will have
the health system’s mission and values, keeps align-
the “most modern technology in operating procedural
ment throughout all facilities and helps balance the
decision-making process. Whether it’s decisions on
capital investment or services expansion, leaders can
With the employee culture and finances improved,
the implementation of an ambulatory electronic medi-
look to the success factors to ensure their decision
and quality measures on the rise, Baptist Health
cal record throughout employed physician practices
fits within the System’s strategic plan, Spees said.
System is now looking toward modernization and
and independent physician practices that have chosen
to contract with the System. Spees is looking forward
“The team-based approach has fostered a culture not just of teamwork, but also of system-wide ac-
“Recently we invested about $150 million in
Another exciting investment for the System is in
to a future with the community’s hospital and ambula-
countability,” Spees said. “We’ve made sure our plans
modernizing the internal workings of our hospitals,”
are aligned and cascade those targets down to indi-
Spees said. “That includes investments in medical
vidual goals and objectives for different roles through-
technology, medical equipment, new cath labs, new
tant to be persistent in pursuing your goals and being
out the system, not just across management.”
operating rooms. We also recently opened a new pa-
mindful of your organization’s overall mission. It’s not
tient tower at Shelby Baptist Medical Center, which
just what you accomplish, but how you accomplish it
critical to the System’s success. He said the health
features all private rooms and doubles our critical
system began re-engineering its operating systems
care capacity, which was a real need in
Spees said investing in leadership has also been
tory settings connected through this technology. In accomplishing all this, Spees said, “It’s impor-
By Patricia Chaney
HCE EXCHANGE MAGAZINE Real Issues : Real Solutions