Q&A: Texas Health Resources Incoming CEO Talks Strategy

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , August 1, 2014

Berdan: There are a lot more tools available today than back when we talked. Not every tool that's available can integrate properly with your other systems and we've shifted focus on is how to integrate this stuff into the workflows without creating a big burden on the practices.

That implies some changes in processes and IT. Some of that technology is there and some needs tweaking and further development. You have to have a willingness on physicians to reexamine those workflows. Most physician offices are designed historically to be reactive to patients.

We're trying to create a different set of workflows that allows them to be proactive with patients who would benefit from that interaction.

HealthLeaders: Texas Health has a lot of accomplishments it can lean on in developing an integrated physician network, building out its outpatient and market strategy, and in coordination of care. What has been accomplished in those areas, and what's still left to build?

Berdan: In terms of integration and building a network, we still have a quite a bit to do on the post-acute side. We have a great partnership in home health, a great partnership with rehab, a great partnership in imaging with Envision and great partnership that's growing rapidly in surgery centers with SCA.

One of the tough nuts to figure out is the skilled nursing side. That's much more of a cottage industry and in many cases it's very underfunded, so it's hard for some of these organizations to make the investments they need to make in order to retool their workflows so we can create a seamless continuum of care. That's what we'd like to focus on in the next year or so.

HealthLeaders: You're in the final three years of a 10-year strategic plan. That seems like a long time for a strategy plan and a lot can change. How do you keep it relevant over time?

Berdan: 10 years is long. We've intentionally internally called it "Climbing Transformation Mountain." Along the way, every three years or so, we get to a "base camp," to continue the metaphor. We stop, take a rest, reassess, and decide whether we have the right tools, team members and skills. We completed that review at the second base camp in 2013.

Now we're in the last part of the climb to the summit. That helps people get a sense of what we're trying to accomplish and that last climb is the toughest part. When we get there, we'll see another mountain in the distance.

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