‘Monumental Transformation’ Means Better Patient Care, Improved Medical Education and Faster Research Advances

Article Date: Jun 30, 2017

physicians and patient in clinical setting

Imagine an entire system that revolves around your health and wellness. That’s what CHI Health is building with its new Academic Health System.

It’s an ambitious idea with a tremendous goal: to merge the strengths of a community hospital care delivery system with an academic medical center learning environment -- while keeping each patient at the center of our focus.

“We are undergoing a monumental transformation,” said CHI Health CEO Cliff Robertson, MD. “We are serious about preparing for a new future, taking the best of academic medicine and the best of community health care and putting them together in a new model.”

Our Academic Health System is more than a single hospital or even a complex of facilities. It expands outside the walls of its clinics and hospitals and forms partnerships with community providers and public agencies.

It’s also an incubator for innovation that will transform how care is delivered, how students and residents are educated, how health care is reimbursed, and how research travels from the researcher’s bench to the patient’s bedside.

What does this mean to you? The health care you receive might feel similar to what you’ve previously experienced, or you might notice subtle differences. But much is going on behind the scenes to advance the health of our patients and the community at large.

What makes an Academic Health System different:

A medical student, resident or fellow may be involved in your care.

A medical student is studying to be a physician. A resident is a physician who practices medicine under the supervision of an attending physician. A fellow is a physician receiving “sub-specialty” training. All of these “learners” are supervised by attending physicians, so you’ll have more than one physician bringing expertise to your care. You can also choose not to have a medical student involved in your care.

Fun Fact: Of the 9,000 applicants to Creighton University’s School of Medicine – CHI Health’s academic partner -- only 5% receive an offer to join the residency program. They are among the best and the brightest.

An entire team is working for you.

Before a care provider enters your clinic or hospital room, he or she may have discussed your case with a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals. This team can include physicians, residents, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians, behavioral health specialists and others – and each can weigh in with strategies to best care for you.

You are at the center of our efforts.

This interprofessional approach means health care experts from different specialties and disciplines -- and even outside community agencies – can work together more closely than ever before to collaborate on your care. This environment helps break down the siloes which have traditionally separated health professionals.

Fun fact: A clinical research study being conducted at CHI Health University Campus is focusing on patients deemed at highest risk of re-hospitalization. Rather than wait for patients to come in with a health concern, an interprofessional team is reaching out to those patients with specific services that will improve their overall health.

Everyone teaches and everyone learns.

That’s the academic health system motto. Physicians in academic health systems don’t just teach or see patients, they continue learning through continued clinical experience, study and research in their fields. That means the care our medical professionals provide is constantly advancing.

Research breakthroughs more easily reach the bedside.

In this environment, clinicians and researchers work closely together to achieve real-world advances in patient outcomes, safety, quality, accessibility and efficiency.

This isn’t the stuff of overnight change. The Academic Health System is designed to continue evolving to best address the challenges of the future.

“At CHI Health, we talk a lot about how imagination leads to innovation. We believe in this concept, because we see it in action with the Academic Health System that’s now taking shape,” Dr. Robertson said. “Together, we can create healthier communities and prepare health care professionals who are uniquely equipped for the future.”


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