Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Own, Manage, Direct, and Design Your Own Health Care

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

Ever since Congress passed a law enabling Alaska Native people to obtain ownership and management of their own health care services, Southcentral Foundation (SCF), a 2011 winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, has been improving the health care of approximately 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people.

The health care organization, which is owned, managed, directed, designed, and driven by Alaska Native people (i.e., the customer-owners), has seen a 50 percent decrease in costly emergency room and urgent care visits, an approximately 65 percent decrease in specialty care, a 36 percent decrease in primary care visits, and a 53 percent decrease in hospital admissions.

Using the Criteria for Performance Excellence as a continuous improvement system, SCF attributes its successful approaches to
Listening to the wants and wishes of those receiving services
Redesigning services around long-term trusting relationships
Empowering customer-owners to own health issues at personal and systems levels

It's no wonder than that in 2010 SCF achieved the highest level of Patient-Centered Medical Home™ recognition from the National Committee on Quality Assurance for creating a strong primary care system that engages customer-owners and offers a broad range of preventive services and treatment.

"At Southcentral Foundation, we intentionally design everything from our buildings and facilities, to our services and systems, to be responsive to the needs and values of the Native community. Our customers drive everything," says President/CEO Katherine Gottlieb. "While we are celebrating 30 years of health care excellence and have won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, continuous improvement is a journey—and we realize we still have more work to do."

Southcentral Foundation's customer-owner-based system is highly benchmarked and honored. How might such customer empowerment benefit your organization? One place where you can learn more is at the 24th Annual Quest for Excellence conference.

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