Sunday, September 27, 2009

Area hospitals to use report to help guide their future plans

The Olean Times Herald reported that a recent report on what consumers think about health care in Western New York is seen by local hospital administrators as a valuable tool.

The report, "Reaching for Excellence: Community Vision and Voices for Western New York Health Care," polled more than 1,700 people from throughout eight Western New York counties. The report reflects what people want in the future from the health-care system and critical needs that currently are not being addressed.

Timothy J. Finan, president and CEO of Olean General Hospital, and Eva Benedict, president and CEO of Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, both said the report will be a significant part of their future planning on how to make a more patient-centered health-care experience.

The report is a collaborative effort of the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, the John R. Oishei Foundation, The P2 Collaborative and The University of Buffalo Regional Institute. It is the first to conduct such an intensive, widespread and continuing process for engaging and amplifying the consumer perspective, said Ann F. Monroe, president and CEO of the Community Health Foundation.

The report identified five critical areas that consumers felt needed to be addressed: Making a human connection, losing the hassle factor, helping patients understand, making healthy choices and increasing access to care.

Mr. Finan called the report significant and said that it amplified what Olean General knew intuitively about people's perception of the health-care system. The report will help administrators at Olean General and Bradford Regional Medical Center develop a strategic plan as the hospitals soon come together under the Upper Allegheny Health System, he said.

"As we embark upon a strategic plan for the new Upper Allegheny Health System this will be very important information that will factor into the process," he said.

Ms. Benedict said that Jones Memorial will use the information for its own strategic planning.

"We certainly welcome and need that consumer input and their perceptions to help us guide where go in the future," she said.

The report is the result of two years of information gathering. Nearly 115 meetings were held to discuss the future of Western New York health care. Read more here.

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