Leading the Patient-Centric Paradigm Shift

Today's patients have a wide array of care options, from retail clinics and telehealth to wearables and apps. However, this increased accessibility doesn't always translate to better care. Relying on one-off provider visits can lead to confusion and care delays, hindering patients' health management efforts.

Despite the disruptive nature of accessible care models, health systems have a unique opportunity to provide comprehensive, proactive, and patient-centered care. Collaboration with nontraditional partners like tech companies and community organizations is key to achieving this, requiring visionary leadership for sustained change. In summary, enhancing patient experience and care quality necessitates innovation and collaboration.

Rick Newell

Rick Newell , MD, MPH

Chief Transformation Officer

Published October 19, 2023

Partnering to Meet Patients’ Needs

Why is collaboration with “outsiders” so important? Because no single organization can be all things to all people. As health systems, it’s crucial to understand what we’re built to do, what we’re good at — and what we’re not good at.

For example, telehealth and virtual care are now integral parts of healthcare delivery, but not all hospitals can successfully offer these services due to many factors. It’s also becoming more of a consumer expectation, and many patients choose where to receive care based on the level of virtual offerings available.

An emergency department may do a great job providing in-person clinical care. But the physicians and nurses who work there aren’t experts in data science, AI, machine learning, or software engineering. They aren’t the right people to develop a phone app to help patients schedule follow-up care appointments. Your system must bring in a tech company with app design experience to do that.

Partnership and collaboration aren’t without risk. It’s crucial that we choose the right partners. Look for those who have demonstrated their capabilities, align with your vision, understand your business, and are fully committed to your success (not just theirs).

Innovative Telehealth Solutions

Many organizations still view telehealth as a separate practice line, but at Vituity, it’s simply healthcare. We believe that all our clinical services can potentially use telehealth in some form.

Many of our telehealth services integrate with in-person practice. In southern Illinois, for example, a single critical care team provides both virtual and face-to-face coverage across a four-hospital region. This flexible staffing model allows community hospitals to operate ICUs more efficiently without compromising quality or patient experience.

Some of the more innovative ways we’re delivering virtual care include:


  • Yafa Minazad, DO, and Arbi Ohanian, MD, before joining Vituity, had one of the first practices in the country to offer virtual and in-person neuro hospitalist coverage. Vituity continues to be one of the very few groups providing this service.
  • Vituity’s EmPATH solution, which provides short-term care for acute behavioral health complaints, uses telehealth to fill gaps in psychiatrist coverage. This ensures that every new patient receives an immediate and expert assessment.

Designing the Optimal Patient Experience

As the healthcare landscape devolves into complexity and fragmentation, healthcare leaders must take a stand for patient-centric care. Is shifting the care paradigm a tall order? Definitely. And in my experience, there are five essential qualities and strategies that are necessary to effect this change:

  1. Visionary leadership. This is the ability to clearly communicate your higher purpose and live it out across the organization, inspiring others to embrace transformational change.
  2. Relentless pursuit of improvement. This means always striving to be better tomorrow than we are today.
  3. Collaboration. Transforming healthcare requires us to unite people across the organization. We must motivate and inspire our teams to get behind the vision, break down silos, and pull in the same direction.
  4. Embracing innovation. As Steve Jobs said, “We must see change as an opportunity, not a threat.” Therefore, being agile and able to pivot quickly is essential.
  5. Long-term thinking. There’s a serious disease afflicting healthcare today, and it’s called short-termism. We must fiercely resist this killer condition and commit to advancing our long-term vision of what healthcare could and should be.

Your most important job as a leader is to focus relentlessly on patients and their welfare. Taking a long view, you’ll create space for innovation, iteration, and massive change that happens one small shift at a time.

Partnering to improve patient lives

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