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"We have a moral obligation to keep people healthy," he says. "We as healthcare executives need to collectively do a better job of moving from a sick care mindset to a health/wellness mindset."
In Kaiser hospitals, he says, 70% of the time patients will be out of the ED in 60 minutes. "That's our goal," he says. "And into the ICU in 30 minutes. We have an ED doc early in the process to help with throughput."
Harper notes his professional focus is to remove barriers from a process improvement standpoint.
"My job is to push down walls—moving patients to the right place of care with fewer hurdles to cross," he says. "For example, moving a patient from discharge directly to home care with no stop in a [skilled nursing facility] sometimes."
Being able to do that means that services have truly been aligned across the continuum of care. It's an example of patient customer service as much as it is about increasing efficiency or saving money, he says.
"We as healthcare executives need to do what is right for the patient," Harper says. "Since the cost of healthcare is not sustainable for many consumers and the businesses that are paying for it, focusing on affordability is key."
Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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