Lawrence Memorial Hospital board approves strategic plan ‘for a healthy future’

Lawrence Memorial Hospital

Lawrence Memorial Hospital

January 18, 2017


Not long after Russell Johnson was brought on board as president and CEO of Lawrence Memorial Hospital last August, hospital staff embarked on a three-month intensive planning process known as Destination Health.

On Wednesday morning, the LMH board of trustees voted unanimously to approve the new strategic plan, which charts the hospital’s course to become a “partner for lifelong health” in the Lawrence community over the next three to seven years.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Johnson told his colleagues on the board, is in a unique position among health care providers because it has remained financially strong over the last several years. Still, he later told the Journal-World, “it’s not clear where health care is heading from a policy, payment and delivery system point of view,” and the hospital’s new strategic plan is mindful of that.

“The new administration, President-elect Trump, has reiterated the view of many that we need to do something different with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. What that is, is not known,” Johnson said. “So, I think change is in the air, and we know as an organization that we need to be ready and nimble. And what we’ve tried to do in the strategic plan is to focus on the things that we know will serve us well and serve the community well, irrespective of what that change that might come down the pike is.”

The plan’s “tactical steps,” for the most part, have yet to be mapped out. At the core of the plan, however, are three imperatives: putting people first, working to improve provider alignment, and clinical integration and excellence. Under each category are approximately a dozen tasks, or “strategic milestones,” that LMH leaders hope to complete within the next three to seven years.

People First is broad in its goals, ranging “everywhere from technology to understanding the consumer market better and a lot of things in between,” Johnson said. That includes the creation of a single patient registration system, as opposed to the two systems LMH uses between its hospital and clinic; the development of a long-term solution to improve parking at LMH’s heavily trafficked main campus; the piloting of a check-in and registration kiosk at some LMH practices; and an upcoming review of pricing at the hospital.

With health care shifting toward a more consumer-based model, the hospital realizes that folks may be “shopping around a little bit more,” Johnson said, “and we need to be transparent and engaged with consumers as they try to figure out where they get their health care.”

The plan’s second category, provider alignment, looks at creating an “outstanding practice environment” for the 90 physicians and advanced-practice nurses working within the LMH organization — as well as building clinical service partnerships with other organizations in the region. Part of that is minimizing the time doctors now spend navigating electronic records, improving recruitment and retention by strengthening ties with medical schools and those “on the pathway” to medical careers, and building “a stronger capability” of clinical-information analytics that better serves clinicians and patients.

Clinical integration and excellence, Johnson said, involves the development of a “broad mental health tactical plan,” which would entail internally evaluating the services LMH currently offers and ultimately, better integrating behavioral health services into LMH’s primary care offices.

To this end, hospital leaders want to work with local partners — among them the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, DCCCA and Heartland Community Health Center — to determine what needs exist locally, what role a crisis intervention center might play, and how LMH could help provide an “effective solution around behavioral health,” Johnson said.

Also under the umbrella of clinical integration and excellence are plans to develop a telemedicine system at LMH; “looking more broadly” at the hospital’s ambulatory services and how they might better serve patients; and building upon relationships with community partners at the University of Kansas.

There’s also an effort, Johnson said, to “better understand where this term of ‘population health’ is going,” and what that means for the hospital. Looking ahead, he wants LMH to focus less on treating individual patients for particular ailments, and more on effectively managing and improving the overall health of the population.

Johnson said he believes the new strategic plan will serve LMH well for the next five to seven years. But he also expects that plan to undergo at least a few tweaks as the years go by.

“There almost certainly will be,” Johnson said of potential changes.

“If we stay mindful to what patients and families and consumers are looking for in health care, that’s likely to inform us differently,” he added. “I don’t think we have an ironclad understanding of what that is right now.”


Michael Kort 10 months, 1 week ago

I would like to see LMH go out and purchase a medical diagnostic system like IBMs WATSON and make it available to all practicing physicians and to patients in search of a cure to whatever because medical science is way ahead of most doctors ability to keep up with it and we dependant on them to stay alive......and having an excellent......dripping with conscern...... bedside manner......... only goes so far !......or maybe to the grave yard ?

What does a doctor do ?

The amount of medical study material published is staggering to the mind and IBMs' WATSON is an artificial intelligence that can consume mountains of data "per second" and spit out probabilities that humans simply lack the data handling equipment upstairs to do meaningfully while they go over your medicine lists, etc !

There is a connection between decisions per day that a doctor has to make and their ability to come to a "single decision" in the moment that you spend with them in treatment or better said, in search for a cure to what ails you !

I would not hesitate go to KC or Topeka, as a patient, if either had an IBM WATSON like driven practice, particularly if I could access that loope to see what IBMs WATSON knows or see treatment or cure probabilities spread out, which no doctor ever has the time to really fully sit down and educate you over, even if you want it ?

Consider also that with older doctors retiring and their replacement rates not looking all of that good for new ones, then how do we do more medically ? with less people ? Of less experience ? in the same time frame ?

I would also hope also that a WATSON like Atificial Intelligence could bridge the language gap between patients and medicine as most diseases are mindlessly named after their discoverers which tells the patient "zip" about why they are sick or are described in Latin that is not comprehendable to English speaking patients . REALLY ? ? ?

No matter where you are if you can't speak the language it is a setup for being the VICTUM of somebodies mouse trap !

You can waiste allot of time on a search engine trying to break the medical language coded barrier which doesn't necessarily get you to anything that looks like A CURE for whatever .

No offense meant to doctors as people do what they know or were taught by their predecessors to be sound thinking .

This is just where medicine is going to go and it will greatly improve the health care experience for all,....including doctors......and people need to demand it.......because you will either die unexpectedly,.....from whatever ?..... or you will end up being tied to a medical system that is inconsistent and hard as hell to work with ( for a legion of mindless accumulated things that pass for reasons ) !

Michael Kort 10 months, 1 week ago

I kid you not that I wouldn't hesitate to move to a city that supported a WATSON LIKE medical computer system at it's hospital........I could always get hit by a buss.......a jet liner could land, belly up, on my car as I drive........the earth could be destroyed by an astroid.......Trump could start WW3............but most likely........ I will just grow older and possibly not live the healthiest most enjoyable life style if I am not being intentional about my healthcare choices or options .

When I was a kid the old people would tell me that "when you got your health that you got everything" !

I just thought that old people said strange things !...... HA, HA,HA !

You learn as you go.......but you also have to make intentional choices in life and you can't hang your hopes on waiting around for others to "get it" to make it all "nice and perfect" because life can hand out unfortunate lessons, to perfectly nice people, who fail to understand their circumstances or who fail to face those things as head on as they might .

I think that LMH means well .

But that and $ 5 will get you a cup of Coffey,..... which used to be 25 cents .

In the 70s I had a computer terminal on my desk which was only accessed with typed in codes to retrieve information from a mainframe that covered a whole skyscraper floor .

Any modern tablet probably packs more punch than that 70s computer .

Point and click with a mouse or touch screens were unimagined..........but doing computers today without them is unimaginable......and artificial intelligence like IBMS WATSON will be a similar upgrade for medicine and it is coming soon to somewhere like it or not !

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