Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Re-Emergence of Centers of Excellence- Part 2

An interesting discussion started on LinkedIn in the American College of Healthcare Executives Group regarding my original blog on the Re-Emergence of Centers of Excellence. The questions as asked by Howard Gershon, Principal, New Heights Group, LLC., was how would I define a Center of Excellence? A fair question since I had not done that in the original post. My thanks also to L. Elizabeth Mullikin, FACHE, Executive Director, Neurosciences Institute at John Muir Health, Leon Harris, Administrative Resident, Providence Hospital and Roy Orr, FACHE, Consultant, Firethorne Interim Hospital Consulting for their contributions to the discussion.

I have seen healthcare organizations all over the board on the topic of Centers of Excellence. Here are the attributes that I consider to make up a Center of Excellence for any disease-state. The ones added by Elizabeth, Leon and Roy are an asterisk. These attributes are not necessarily in order of importance.

Board certified specialist and subspecialties in the disease-state
Current diagnostic and treatment technology
Standardized (where applicable) care plans
If surgical services are involved standardized surgical and medical device packs
Unique or innovative service not found in the service area*(Elizabeth)
Long-term sustainable business plan* (Roy)
Dedicated full-time CoE director or manager
Defined quality program
Center of Excellence P&L
SG&A costs below 23% of revenue
Center defined capital budget for acquisition of new technology, devices etc
Outcomes better than the national average
Active satisfaction measurement of physicians, payers and patients
Patient referrals from what would be considered outside of the normal hospital or health system service area
Fully developed patient disease-state educational materials (and that doesn't mean a pamphlet from an association or pharma)
Outcome case studies
Transparency dashboard which reports surgical and treatment outcomes, case mix index, mortality and morbidity data, financial indicators, satisfaction rates for physician, payer and patient, quality measures, market share, etc
Joint Commission CoE certification*(Leon)
Other third party external accreditation's if available for the disease-state
The disease-state is a core competency of the organization
Centers brand name and brand architecture is consistent with and fully integrated into the hospital or other providers brand plan.

Excellence means excellence. There is no half-way. If the organization is not committed to do it right, then it's just another program of the healthcare provider all dressed up with no place to go.

Michael is a fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and can be reached at 815-293-1471 or

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