'Improvement Councils' build system-wide unity

Access group sets goals, tracks results

After Texas Health Resources (THR) was formed in 1997 from the merger of Fort Worth-based Harris Methodist Health System and Dallas-based Presbyterian Healthcare Resources, a series of councils was created to help foster "systemness," says Patti Consolver, CHAA, CHAM, corporate director of patient access.

Among other accomplishments, she notes, these Operations Performance Improvement Councils (OPIC) have led to the development of strong, collaborative relationships between members from across the health care system.

THR hospitals have a systemwide total of 2,405 licensed beds, and employ more than 17,700 people, she says.

The relationships fostered through the OPICs, Consolver adds, serve as the foundation for the successful implementation of THR's goals and priorities.

THR's Patient Access Services OPIC — made up of patient access directors from member hospitals and representatives from the compliance, legal, information technology, finance, and managed care departments — provided the impetus for a comprehensive on-line training program for the system's 600 access employees, she says.

That council meets monthly under the leadership of Consolver, who reports directly to THR's senior vice president of finance.

"Enhanced goal-setting and measurement through the definition of performance measures provides an essential roadmap for aligning our activity to the system goal," Consolver notes. "We are able to track key performance indicators on a monthly basis and report each goal with respect to measurement, key stakeholders, communication, and alignment with the organization's priorities."

For 2006, she adds, the group has identified the key performance indicators as duplicate medical record numbers, percentage of scheduled patients being preregistered, collections per patient, and cost per registration.