Pictured above is the dynamic, longtime leader of Dignity Health, Mr. Lloyd Dean. Dignity is one of the largest Catholic Health providers, and also one of the largest not-for-profit delivery systems in the entire country. Spread out among multiple states, with 39 community-based hospitals, Dignity is a pacesetter, at the national level, in their creation of the Office of Population Health, and their implementation of community-based population health strategies.
I had the privilege of addressing their annual board meeting for the community and foundation boards across their system. At this meeting they emphasized the direct connection between community-based philanthropic activities, foundations, and the pathway to population health. My remarks focused on reducing unexplained variation and changes in the clinical culture necessary to practice population-based medicine. I had a lot to learn from Dignity, given their size, scope, and national footprint. They seemed well on the way to harnessing the power of multiple community-based foundations to participate in the journey from “volume to value.”
I was particularly impressed with Lloyd Dean, who has been on the national scene for more than a decade. It emphasized for me, yet again, the importance of a singular, senior-most leadership focus on the transformation of the delivery system. The current environment is focused on a paradigm shift from filling hospital beds to lowering admissions and keeping avoidable readmissions at bay. It is important that we dive deep into every community’s needs, rather than pretending that the hospital is the center of the universe. I hadn’t thoroughly thought through the role of the community-based foundation at the national level, and Dignity helped to clarify these important connections moving forward. I’m very confident that Dignity will stand tall among its peer group, like Trinity Health, Ascension, and Advocate Health Care, and will be a bellwether for this transformative journey in healthcare.