Hospital leaders: I'm most thankful for ...

As Frank Byrne, president of St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wis., recently noted, healthcare doesn't do very good job of recognition, even though there is much to celebrate.

With the industry seeing new innovations, technology and healthcare delivery models, we wanted to know what healthcare leaders were most thankful for this year.

Here's what some of our advisory board members had to say:

Mina H. Ubbing (right), president and CEO of Ohio's Fairfield Medical Center is grateful for the opportunity to work together and share resources throughout the continuum of care.

"We are working on this through an Area Agency on Aging grant to help reduce 30 day readmissions," she told FierceHealthcare. Although Fairfield hasn't yet implemented wireless technology, Ubbing already appreciates the idea of using it to enhance provider-patient communication.

Mark Callahan (left), CEO of Mount Sinai Care in New York City is glad the focus on population health survived the presidential election. "While the Shared Savings Program has some limitations, it is nevertheless an important evolution in the Medicare program," he said.

It brings providers into direct collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding quality and cost effectiveness, making it easier to align clinical and financial incentives, Callahan noted.

Jeremy D. Tucker (right), medical director of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown, Md., told FierceHealthcare he's most thankful for access to information. "The exchange of information is vitally important to providing excellent, safe and cost-effective care in today's healthcare environment."

For example, with health information exchanges, providers can share information and make more informed decisions with additional data at their fingertips, he noted.

Similarly, James Merlino (left), chief experience officer at the Cleveland Clinic, told FireceHealthcare he's most thankful for the electronic medical record.

"The EMR is an important innovation that will continue to evolve as technology continues to evolve around it," he said. "This innovation has transformed the way we practice and deliver medicine to drive safety, quality, patient experience and value."

Thanks to the EMR, providers can enter a unique patient identifier into a hand-held tablet anywhere in the world and instantly call up a patient's history, lab work, diagnostic tests, procedure notes, and any other health information. Moreover, they can sort it to only look for information relevant to a particular encounter or disease state, enabling them to monitor follow-up and compliance, as well as integrate patient engagement and education tactics to better deliver care, Merlino noted.

Bob Sehring (right), CEO of ambulatory services at Illinois' OSF Healthcare is grateful for the high degree of physician engagement today, noting that physicians across OSF are actively involved in governance, quality improvement and care management.

"Their involvement has produced high-quality programs while increasing acceptance of the transformation of how care is delivered throughout our delivery system," he told FierceHealthcare.

Sehring also praised the movement of care management activities closer to providers, such as having care managers embedded within a patient-centered medical home. "This significantly increases the face-to-face interaction between care managers, patients and their care team. It also increases the acceptance of care management by the PCMH clinical and office staff," he noted.

David Musyj (left), Windsor Regional Hospital President and CEO applauded the ability to have patients order the food they want, when they want and how much they want, subject to dietary restrictions.

"Patients being able to order off a menu, similar to hotel room service, has resulted in better patient outcomes, compliments regarding hospital food rather than complaints, food and nutrition staff enjoying their jobs and skyrocketing patient satisfaction scores," he told FierceHealthcare.

The program leads to less wasted food and enables family members to order off the same menu and share meal time with their loved ones, he noted. Moreover, patients learn what foods meet their dietary restrictions and what items are off limits as they order off the hospital menu.

With increased opportunities for care coordination, ever-evolving technology tools enhancing the transfer of information, and hospital food that actually helps patients stay healthy, there's clearly much to give thanks for in healthcare this year. What would you add to the list?