Large health systems embrace role as community 'anchors'

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Large health systems are becoming "anchor institutions" to drive change and improve relationships with the communities they serve.

Large health systems across the country are taking on a new role as "anchor institutions" to drive change and improve relationships with the communities they serve.

For example, Henry Ford Health System, based in Detroit, has partnered with Michigan’s school system, according to an article from Hospitals & Health Networks. The health system works with a local community college and public schools to offer an "early college," which puts at-risk youth on a path to a career in healthcare. The five-year program runs from ninth grade through the year after students graduate high school. There are 250 students in the program, according to the article.

Nancy Schlichting, Henry Ford’s CEO, said at the National Center for Healthcare Leadership 2016 Human Capital Investment Conference last week that another strategy the system employed to gain the community’s trust was to reassess how it handles waste disposal. When she joined the system, Henry Ford Hospital used an incinerator; she led an effort to work with community leaders to develop a more sustainable approach.

Other large systems have made similar moves, according to the article. Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has also turned its eye to improving educational opportunities, and officials said partnerships with community organizations were key to gaining the trust of the local residents.

Larry Goodman, M.D., Rush CEO, said at the conference that partnerships like these require near-constant communication with stakeholders to succeed.