Adventist Health System CEO Delivers Keynote at National Health Care Symposium

Man giving a lecture to a rapt audience.
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In today's on-demand world, where brands like Amazon, Netflix and Uber provide instant and personalized service, consumers want things to be simple, easy, convenient and tailored to their needs. As these consumer expectations and demands for each experience and transaction continue to evolve, industries of all kinds, including health care, are taking note. Recently, Adventist Health System (AHS) President/CEO Terry Shaw headlined a national forum for health care leaders to explore how health care can do a better job of putting consumers first.

Shaw was the opening keynote speaker for the Modern Healthcare Consumerism Symposium in Minneapolis, where national health care leaders and stakeholders discussed strategies and best practices for successfully shifting the health care mindset from patients to consumers. During his keynote address, 'It's Time to Talk About It: How Faith, Wholeness and a Consumer-First Focus Inspire Care at Every Stage of Life and Health,' Shaw spoke on the sacred responsibility that health care has to meet the needs of those that it touches.

'We believe that every human being was created in the image of God and we use this in our business strategies,' Shaw said. 'Every person, no matter who they are, has infinite value. And because you have infinite value, we want everybody in our health system that works for us and everybody that we care for to be treated like they have infinite value even if that person doesn't believe that about themselves.'

Rooted in these beliefs, and as one of the largest faith-based health systems in the country, AHS has launched a systemwide initiative to enhance the delivery of spiritual care in the outpatient setting, where more than 90 percent of the organization's patient interactions take place. While discussing the initiative, Shaw expressed his optimism for its effectiveness and impact going forward.

'We've already had hundreds of referrals for spiritual care and follow up in the outpatient setting. I believe this is going to fundamentally change how we intersect with our communities,' he said. 'I also believe this is going to be extremely powerful as it relates to the people that we take care of."

Shaw closed his keynote by reinforcing his powerful, yet disruptive stance that health care needs to stop 'discharging' patients. The concept of never 'discharging' patients means that instead of being left to navigate the health care landscape alone, consumers would be supported by a connected, easy-to-navigate network of care through every stage of life and health.

'Our organization wants to be a place where the whole person gets care every day, all the time. We want to be the go-to choice for every step in everybody's health care journey. We want to do a better job of treating each employee and customer with the dignity that makes them feel loved,' he said. 'In short, I want us, as an organization, to stop discharging people from our care.'

Modern Healthcare is an industry-leading source of health care business and policy news, research and information. The Consumerism Symposium, part of Modern Healthcare's Critical Connections conference series, was attended by more than 100 health care leaders and featured nearly two dozen speakers and numerous interactive panel discussions.

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