Henry Ford Health System: Laboratory for Innovation

Posted by Christine Schaefer

“If you can make it in a complex market like Detroit,” Henry Ford Health System President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Riney told participants at the 24th Annual Quest for Excellence® conference, “you can make it anywhere.” The cultural and socioeconomic diversity of his organization’s customers creates what Riney calls a “perfect laboratory for driving innovation and solutions” in U.S. health care today. The 2011 Baldrige Award-winning health care system serves a population of 4.5 million. It includes the largest Muslim and Chaldean (Christian) populations outside the Middle East, one of the largest African American populations for hospitals in this country, and a significant and growing Hispanic population, according to Riney. He added that some patients live in multimillion dollar homes, while others are homeless.

At a leadership plenary on elements of excellence Wednesday, Riney presented several innovative solutions that Henry Ford Health System has pioneered to excel in serving its diverse population. For example, its innovations in clinical services, research, and technology include the first robotic ultrasound probe. The organization also received acclaim as the first hospital in the United States to use deep brain stimulation inside iMRI, and it operates a Simulation Center that was uniquely designed for use by multidisciplinary health care workers (rather than being limited to physicians’ use). Riney noted that his organization’s culture encourages sharing its innovations widely rather than guarding them closely as strategic advantages in its highly competitive market.

Henry Ford Health System also has led innovations in facilities, such as a hospital with a retreat-like atmosphere promoting healing and wellness; innovative services, such as nutrition-promoting demonstration kitchens for learning by patients and their families; and process innovations, such as the Henry Ford Physicians Network that engages doctors in collaborative relationships with the health care system.

Leveraging such innovations has led to desired results in many areas of performance, including financial and market outcomes. The organization has grown its market share over the past five years despite a flat service-area population, with a gain from 14 percent in 2006 to nearly 18 percent in 2011 for ambulatory care services.

“For us, ideas plus execution equals innovation,” stated Riney. “And innovation plus accountability equals sustainable growth.”

Sounds like a winning equation! Please share how your organization leverages innovation to excel and grow.

 

 

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This entry was posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Events, Health Care, Leadership and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Henry Ford Health System: Laboratory for Innovation

  1. Roy Kinkaid says:

    You may want to read the article in the NY Times (front page) yesterday – Debt Collectors
    Pursue Patients Inside Hospitals. Some illegal sutff going on and Henry Ford is mentioned. Read it and let me know what you think.

  2. Christine Schaefer says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. The article (which can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/business/debt-collector-is-faulted-for-tough-tactics-in-hospitals.html) is about Accretive Health, which serves as a supplier to many large hospital systems. The Baldrige Program does not have any interactions with Accretive Health. Questions would best be addressed directly to that organization.

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