If that's the case, the turn is already well under way. The system is banking on the fact that it will be able to organize transitions effectively and efficiently, and with 46% of its business now in the outpatient sector, that ability is crucial to long-term survival.
To continue to the ship-turning analogy, sometimes technology can act as a rudder, Miller says. In Virtua's case, a move toward a patient-and-equipment tracking system helped supply proof that changes in processes can pay big dividends, not only for the system itself, but for patients and employees.
In Virtua's case, says Alfred Campanella, Virtua's executive vice president of strategic business growth and analytics, the system is on the third leg of a technological journey that is enabling that culture change not only among senior leadership but all the way to the most elementary levels of patient care.
Having invested years ago in its EMR and data warehousing capabilities, Virtua leaders believed they had two of the three legs of their competitive stool built. The third, however, wasn't possible without the first two, and was perhaps the most important: real-time location systems that track things that are moving, whether assets or people.
Perhaps it's obvious that in an industry that has to focus on effective transitions in care settings this kind of technology will be essential, but it's a foreign concept for healthcare.