The Key to Health Success

 The Key to Health Success

Kettering Health Network focuses on patient-centered care while expanding into new communities. 

Corinne Minard

Founded more than 50 years ago, Kettering Health Network was started with Kettering Hospital and the intention of merging innovative health care with Christian values. Today, the network consists of eight hospitals, 120 outpatient facilities and Kettering College. According to Brenda Kuhn, chief quality officer for the Kettering Health Network, the keys to this growth are the network’s dedication to patient-centered care and its desire to reach underserved communities. “We are blessed with amazing staff, physicians and volunteers who are committed to our community and they’re very committed to our mission and support our faith-based approach,” she says.

Patient-centered care

“When we say patient-centered, we create and design our services and processes based on the patients’ needs so it’s easier for them,” says Kuhn. Instead of the traditional model where the hospital decides for patients, patients are invited to be involved in all decision-making processes.

Kuhn points toward the system’s new cancer center as an example. “We had a focus group of patients, oncology patients, some were survivors, some were still in the midst of their treatment, work with us on how to design that facility so that it would best meet their needs,” she says. They weighed in on everything from the layout to the services.

It’s this approach, says Kuhn, that led to Kettering Health Network being selected by Truven Health Analytics as a top 15 health system for the fifth time. “They focus on things like readmissions and complications and (emergency department) throughput and patient experience. And so as a network, those are the same things that we focus on. We look at where we’re doing great and where we have opportunity to do better,” she says.

According to Truven Health Analytics, networks in this category save 15 percent more lives, have 15 percent fewer complications and have 12 percent shorter wait times in the emergency room than other systems. “For (our patients) that means when their loved one is in the hospital they can have greater confidence that they will have fewer complications, shorter delays, shorter wait times and more likelihood to go home than if they were in another hospital,” says Kuhn.

Reaching the underserved

As part of the network’s patient-centered approach, Kettering is also looking for ways to reach underserved communities. New locations in Troy and Middletown reflect that commitment.

Kettering Health is building a $30 million, 67,000-square-foot facility on Ohio 122 off Interstate 75. “We’re looking at a full-service emergency department, lab, imaging or radiology, and then a medical office building that has physician practices,” says Kuhn. The facility is expected to open in mid- to late 2018.

The goal is to give patients access to doctors close to home, making it easier to stay healthy. That same goal led Kettering Health to build the first emergency department in Preble County. “We were able to go out to a community that had to drive a pretty long way for emergency services. And now they have access right in their community. We’ve shortened the drive, and so people who are more hesitant, who are like, ‘OK, am I really going to drive that far?’ they can access the services earlier so we can start that intervention sooner,” adds Kuhn.

Another new location is in Troy. “It will have the emergency department, the lab, the imaging, the medical office building just like Middletown, but in addition to that it will have a surgery center and inpatient beds. So it will be a hospital,” says Kuhn. The three-story, nearly 100,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to be completed in late 2018.

“(If you) have that big event where you need neurosurgery or extensive cardiac surgery, you have a center that you can go into where you’re familiar with their providers and they have access to all of your medical records and can make that a seamless transition from one care setting to another,” says Kuhn.

While increasing access and giving patients a voice continue to be important, Kuhn says Kettering Health Network’s growth and success would not have been possible without its workforce.

“I just hear wonderful stories from patients about somebody offering a prayer, meeting somebody in the hallway who’s in tears and stopping and praying with the person before they go along their way. So, I do think our workforce is key to our success,” says Kuhn.