Inside the Outpatient Experience
By Hugh Thomas
Last year Rochester General Health System launched a new Ambulatory Care affiliate, and in this issue you can read about another aspect of our ambitious new commitment to outpatient care. But this new focus is much more than a reorganization of services – it’s an entirely new model of health care.
By studying patient use models and consulting with some of the nation’s top health care analysts, we have developed a forecast for the next 10 years of health services delivery. We anticipate ongoing declines in inpatient utilization, and continued increases in demand for comprehensive outpatient services that offer greater convenience and economy without compromising quality.
That forecast, combined with the effects of health care reform and our innovative new payer relationships, required us to explore and implement new ways to deliver the best care in the most cost-effective settings possible – to ensure every patient receives exactly the level of care they need. The inpatient model, once considered the standard for health-services delivery, can be inefficient and unnecessarily costly, especially considering the technological advances that now allow many traditionally inpatient procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis.
Considering these factors, we knew that the addition of a comprehensive ambulatory model was a necessary next step in the evolution of RGHS. But that delivery paradigm brings more changes: With inpatient care, patients don’t choose where to receive diagnostic imaging services, physical therapy or other medical needs. By contrast, ambulatory patients vote with their feet, often selecting providers based on “customer-oriented” criteria.
We know that providing extraordinary ambulatory care isn’t enough. Our teams must also prioritize patient-focused service and satisfaction – in medical quality and outcomes, the friendliness and responsiveness of front-office staff , the accessibility and convenience of our locations and parking, and even the aesthetics of the environment in which they receive their care.
This is why we acquired the Linden Oaks Medical Campus in 2012, and why we will relocate the Lattimore Surgical Center to a state-of-the-art Linden Oaks facility later this year. Applying that same philosophy to radiology, we opened the Imaging Center at Alexander Park last summer. Our new partnership with Rochester Radiology Associates underscores our commitment to deliver high-quality ambulatory imaging services with the convenience – and the signature service and satisfaction – that patients have come to expect from the competitive world of ambulatory providers.
Unparalleled inpatient care will always be needed, and RGHS will continue to improve and refine our hospital-based services. But we also look forward to working with the physicians of our region in delivering superior Ambulatory Care for our growing community of patients.
Hugh Thomas is RGHS Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and General Counsel.