By Dr. James Nataro
As many of you know, last January UVA Children’s kicked off a formal and ambitious strategic planning process. We contracted with Whitecap Health Advisors who, COVID-19 notwithstanding, conducted a detailed, seven month long analysis of our current situation and how we could position ourselves for success over the next five years and more. The consultants were impressed by what we have been able to do at UVA Children’s Hospital, thanks to all of you, and they were particularly impressed by the fact that we deliver nationally ranked programs in a relatively small hospital-within-a-hospital, located in a relatively small market.
Some of the recommendations delivered in the strategic plan document included the need to emphasize so-called destination programs, clinical services that are so good or so unique that families will drive great distances to come to UVA. The consultants noted that our heart program and NICU, among others, have already reached destination program status, and they knew we were therefore capable of this level of excellence. They suggested some potential areas of focus might include cancer, transplant, and neurosciences. The plan also made recommendations about the potential need to expand our inpatient units and the opportunities provided by telemedicine.
Since the delivery of the strategic plan document in August 2020, we have been busy with the refinement and execution phase of the project. This involves no fewer than 12 working groups, looking at everything from opportunities in different geographic areas, to infrastructure needs, to marketing and branding aspirations, to opportunities in particular service areas. The working groups will be brainstorming opportunities and preparing preliminary business plans that will be further refined by the strategic plan steering committee, and then delivered to health system leadership for consideration and possible implementation.
We can already discuss some specific deliverables of the strategic planning process. Some of the destination programs recommended by the consultants will take the form of formally recognized centers of excellence. Several business plans for potential centers are being considered as is the set of criteria required to accord a program center of excellence status. There is also a widespread recognition that our Children’s Hospital could benefit from additional investments in marketing of existing and of new programs.
The strategic consultants were enthusiastic about our intent to launch a Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program and we have in fact now hired the director of that program, who will begin in February. This director is Dr. Philip Roehrs, and he comes to us from Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. He will be formally introduced in a future edition of this newsletter.
It is an exciting time for UVA Children’s and we will keep you updated regarding the strategic planning process and the changes that result therefrom.
Filed Under: Features