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Dawn Bailey

Health Care

For the Good of the Community

Baldrige winner Schneck Medical Center partnered with a competitor to make patient care its top priority

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 15:32

In health care settings, clinical integration is a fairly new concept that means coordinating patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time to achieve care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-focused. 

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “clinical integration [between hospitals and between hospitals and physicians] offers both parties the opportunity to coordinate patient interventions, manage quality across the continuum of care, move toward population health management, and pursue true value-based contracting.”

For 2011 Baldrige Award recipient Schneck Medical Center, clinical integration is a concept to embrace for the good of its communities. And partnering with a competitor—a strategy that may sound counterproductive in some business sectors—is allowing the 93-bed nonprofit hospital to make the very best care of its patients its utmost priority.

Schneck Medical Center and its partner hospital plan to contribute multiple resources, including finances and manpower, to coordinate patient care between the two hospitals and members of both medical staffs, according to Tammy Dye, vice president of clinical services and chief quality officer. This will include the treatment for acute episodes of illness, the treatment and management of chronic conditions, and a focus on wellness.

Schneck’s Suki Wright, director of organizational excellence and innovation, and Dye, said that partnering with a competitor to achieve clinical integration, will allow the hospital to:
• Create greater value for its customers by sharing resources and knowledge to integrate efforts, technology, and care
• Improve efficiencies and reduce costs by partnering together to leverage buying power and sharing resources
• Emphasize the work to achieve the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) “triple aim” of improving the patient experience, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita cost


Wright and Dye, who are speaking this week at the 26th Annual Quest for Excellence conference in Baltimore, offered three tips for how to engage a competitor in such a partnership:
• Build a foundation of trust and open communication
• Start with a common goal and shared vision and work from there
• Bring in a non-biased third party to help with facilitation and building the infrastructure


“In health care, the time for agility is now,” says Dye. “Having an aligned and focused leadership team with a shared vision working together to sustain and move the strategy forward is essential. Using the Baldrige Criteria has been one of the most impactful tools in our 100-year history and as a result has changed the way our leadership team thinks and makes decisions. I am sure any organization that has implemented and embedded the framework in how it runs its business would agree.”

First published April 1, 2014, on Blogrige.


About The Author

Dawn Bailey’s picture

Dawn Bailey

Dawn Bailey is a writer/editor for the Baldrige Program involved in all aspects of communications, from leading the Baldrige Executive Fellows program to managing the direction of case studies, social media efforts, and assessment teams. She has more than 25 years of experience (18 years at the Baldrige Program) working on publications and education teams. Her background is in English and journalism, with degrees from the University of Connecticut and an advanced degree from George Mason University.