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Corporate services: The power of working together

"The power of working together has allowed us to do amazing things," said Christopher O'Connor, YNHHS executive vice president and chief operating officer, citing YNHHS information technology, facilities, real estate, pharmacy and cost and value infrastructure. "All of these things get better when we can build and share them across the System."

O'Connor talked about the challenge of developing a single platform for laboratory services – and the highly successful implementation of Epic Beaker in July 2016.

In the coming year, two areas of focus relate to lab testing. YNHHS hopes to reduce the number of reference tests (specialized patient lab tests) that can be done within the System more cost effectively but are being referred to outside laboratories. The second is to make it easier and more cost effective for YNHHS employees to have lab tests performed by labs within the System.

"Where do we have opportunities to work together, collaborate, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and enhance the services we provide our patients?" asked O'Connor.

As care shifts more and more toward outpatient care, YNHHS will enhance care coordination across the System and across the continuum of care. This is part of building the infrastructure of population health management, and the likely direction in which U.S. health care is moving.

Another change to look forward to will be the development of a single Integrated Service Center in Connecticut, further consolidating fragmented supply chains and services. This will move inventory away from the individual hospitals – out of the ORs, units and stockrooms – and into a centralized distribution center. "Shipping, receiving and distribution will be convenient, efficient and cost-effective, and will give us better services than our current model," said O'Connor. The project will start slowly, beginning with medical-surgical supplies.