Forecasting Bright Future for WhidbeyHealth in 2023
February 17, 2023
In early 2022, WhidbeyHealth faced significant financial peril along with operational, employee, medical staff, and community confidence challenges. Throughout 2022 the medical staff, hospital administration team along with the Board of Commissioners met the challenges to establish a solid foundation for growth and success in 2023 and beyond.
WhidbeyHealth has launched its commitment to be consumer-centric with organization-wide focus on customer service and the best possible quality of care. We are taking bold steps to create a place for patients to come for care, providers to practice, employees to work and proud volunteers to support our missions.
Our evolving culture places the patient first by focusing on delighting the customer. Everything we do, every initiative we take, every factor we prioritize is based on one concept: bringing value and respect to our patients, providers and staff.
The key priorities instituted for 2023:
- Improved patient experience and customer service at every level.
- Continue to pay competitive wages and benefits to our employees.
- Recruit additional talented providers and staff.
- Ensure the financial and cash position stability of our rural health system.
- Advancing our quality and operational process improvement.
- Implement 24/7 virtual health services throughout WhidbeyHealth’s ecosystem.
- Improve wait times in our Emergency Room, Walk-In Clinics and the timeliness of Primary Care appointments through provider recruitment and virtual care.
- Launch an outpatient behavioral health program.
- Expand Radiology services and inpatient Swing Bed services.
- Raise awareness of the WhidbeyHealth Foundation as a source for generating donations and grants.
We want to overcome the new normal narrative of staffing shortages, long waits in the ER and clinics suffered in 2022. By embracing process changes, workforce enhancements and addressing financial challenges, we will build trust and add value to our patients. We will provide enhanced virtual care services and add professional and frontline staff to improve the patient experience at WhidbeyHealth.
In addition to the 16 new providers added in 2022, we are actively recruiting specialized medical providers for Orthopedics, Surgery, Urology, Behavioral Health, Women’s Care and Family Practice. Whidbey Island has long been without Urology Care and adequate Behavioral Health programs. We intend to change that; providing the care you need for healthy living.
Virtual Care (telemedicine) has been available for some time now, but is generally used as an alternative to traditional primary care visits. We’re not just taking it one step further but making a significant leap into its potential applications. WhidbeyHealth is poised to implement expanded telemedicine – specifically for Emergency Care, Walk-In Clinic Care and Behavioral Health. It will make a dramatic difference in our customer service experience.
We restarted our Swing Bed program in 2022, and plan to grow the capability this year. Swing Beds, simply put, continues the inpatient rehabilitation support (i.e., after an illness, injury or surgery) that can be provided at WhidbeyHealth, regardless of whether the initial care was received here or elsewhere. Patients can receive their inpatient rehabilitation, while enjoying the comfort of being close to home and family.
Additional changes we are excited to debut in 2023:
- The Radiology department will add Fluoroscopy (similar to X-Ray or MRI, but creates real-time video movements inside the body) allowing our doctors and surgeons to improve the care they provide while improving recovery and outcomes for the patients.
- The Radiology department will upgrade our CT with the latest technology.
- A new and upgraded electronic medical record system will be integrated throughout WhidbeyHealth.
- After many years of distinguished service as a commissioner, Grethe Cammermeyer resigned as a board commissioner and the Board appointed Morgan Cooper.
Accomplishing these key objectives will impact the entire healthcare experience of our patients and visitors and reinforces our motto of “delighting the customer.” We’re committed to making each visit the best part of their day. Along with providing safe, quality care through continuous improvement in all out medical service lines, we want to exceed our patients’ expectations and improve the health of our community. That is a future we can all live with.