WellStar exec on panel about effect of mergers on patient health outcomes

Dr. John BrennanDr. John Brennan (photo courtesy of WellStar Health System)

A WellStar executive was on a panel discussing the effect of mergers on patient health care at a November 18 conference sponsored by U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. John Brennan, WellStar Health System’s Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Integration Officer gave a presentation on what WellStar considers the best practices for patient health following mergers.

The panel was led by Greta Martin, a Healthcare Data Scientist for U.S. News & World Report.

The title of the panel was “Managing Consolidation for the Best Patient Outcomes: Standardizing Care and Quality.”

It focused on a 2018 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) report that found mergers and acquisitions in the health care industry can increase risks to patient safety if those in charge of the changes lack clinical experience.

According to a press release from WellStar Health Systems:

The informative panel focused on the importance and impacts of consolidation and standardization in healthcare delivery at the seventh annual U.S. News & World Report’s Healthcare of Tomorrow National Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. The annual conference convenes top leaders in the healthcare industry to discuss and share successful tools and tactics to address current and future trends affecting patient and population health.

“One of the most important ways to improve population health is providing easy access to vital health services in the communities we serve,” said Dr. Brennan. “We look closely at people, processes, and technology to ensure that we are making the best decisions for both our providers and patients. Our focus is on improving care at the most appropriate cost.”

” Two examples include reducing some of the most common hospital-acquired infections by 42% by standardizing one type of catheter and central line; and moving to a single health record system after several mergers, so providers could follow their patients’ health needs across our system. These and other standardizations have direct impact on the health and well-being of our patients, which is a top priority for WellStar,” Brennan said.

Brennan listed what he views at advantages of mergers and acquisitions in health care:

  • Consolidation and strengthening of services, via integrated health parks, where consumers can get access to multiple services and medical practices under one roof at convenient locations;
  • Implementation of system-wide technologies and best practices to drive increased process efficiency and transparency; and
  • Formation of value-based physician-driven supply chain management protocols to improve the decision-making process.

“As a physician, I know how important it is to ensure that change in healthcare organizations is thoughtfully and carefully managed from top to bottom – from company operations to the operating room – to mitigate negative impact and drive positive outcomes,” said Dr. Brennan. “While we look for ways to standardize best practices and protocols, we are also intensely focused on how we can provide tailored, compassionate care for every person, every time.”