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UL Hospitals Group Launches Five-Year Strategic Plan

Tuesday, 17th July, 2018 1:58pm
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UL Hospitals Group Launches Five-Year Strategic Plan

Graham Knowles, Chair UL Hospitals Group, Colette Cowan, CEO UL Hospitals Group and John Connaghan, Intern Director General HSE pictured at the launch

UL Hospitals Group Launches Five-Year Strategic Plan

Graham Knowles, Chair UL Hospitals Group, Colette Cowan, CEO UL Hospitals Group and John Connaghan, Intern Director General HSE pictured at the launch

UL Hospitals Group has published its five-year Strategic Plan which sets out a roadmap for closer integration with community services; harnessing digital technology to improve patient outcomes; raising its research and innovation profile; building strategic alliances and much more.

‘Working Together, Caring for the MidWest: UL Hospitals Group Strategic Plan 2018-2022’ was launched by UL Hospitals Group CEO Prof Colette Cowan and supported by the HSE Interim Director General John Connaghan.

The plan sets out numerous goals under four key strategic priorities aimed at improving health outcomes for the people of the Mid-West and making UL Hospitals Group a more attractive place in which to work, train and do research.

The Group’s vision is: ‘To be a valued, trusted and leading provider of excellence in healthcare which is patient-centred, clinically-integrated, team-based and research-driven’.

Speaking at the launch in the Clinical Education and Research Centre, UHL, Prof Cowan said the plan the Group was presenting was "an ambitious but an achievable vision for what our Hospital Group will look like five years from now".

"The Strategy has factored in both the more general demands on healthcare providers nationally, including the ageing population and growing burden of chronic disease, and the specific factors unique to this region such as the social determinants of ill health in parts of Limerick City," Prof Cowan added.

The first of the four strategic priorities concerns Clinical Transformation and enumerates various ways in which UL Hospitals Group can capitalise on its unique advantage of being co-terminous with HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare in delivering integrated care models. A related key objective is to build on work to date around the capacity of the Hospital Group to operate as a single entity across all six clinical sites, each with their own identity and function.

The second Strategic Priority, Digital Health, presents a series of objectives which highlight UL Hospitals Group’s ambition to digitally enable and enhance processes rooted in patient care, research, education, innovation and collaboration. A range of Digital Health actions are geared towards supporting UL Hospitals Group in the adoption of the national Electronic Health Record (EHR) among other technologies. UL Hospitals Group will, over the next five years, continue to set further foundations to become a future digital leader in the Irish healthcare landscape through advancements in analytics, cloud-based platforms and Real-Time Health System capabilities. Finally, a focus on creating data sharing arrangements with other key parties is prioritised to strengthen UL Hospitals Group population health approach and integrated care initiatives.

Research, Education and Innovation represents the third key priority within the Strategic Framework. The plan lays out the clear intent of the Hospital Group to collaborate with its academic partner and other public and private sector parties sharing an interest in growing the research, training and innovation of healthcare practice and service delivery. The UL Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) will represent a core structure which houses the Hospital Group’s research and "big data" priorities through the expansion of a Healthcare Incubator and Innovation Centre in tandem with centres focused on Robotic Assisted Surgery and Integrated Care & Age-Related Disease.

The fourth and final Strategic Priority within the Framework concerns Collaboration & Alliances. UL Hospitals Group aspires to transcend traditional service delivery boundaries by allying with other public and private providers to pursue shared and blended initiatives targeting the health and wellness of the local population. The Hospital Group is also keen to develop relationships with the private sector to progress joint service development and delivery objectives.

Welcoming publication of the Strategy, John Connaghan, Interim Director General, HSE, said he was confident it had a robust built-in implementation plan that would see its objectives followed through on and enough flexibility to take advantage of changes in the health landscape.

"It is really important that a strategy is a living document and one that is subject to some degree of review as you cycle through the years ahead. You expect to revise it every year and that also helps ensure it is not something that just lies in a cupboard. The reason I can have confidence it is not going to be something that is left lying unused is that you do have tangible benefits that you can realise, for your patients and for the organisation, around the redesign of services, around integration, around digital health," he said.

The Strategy’s Implementation Plan has identified 168 separate but interconnected projects, each of which has been assigned a project manager and a delivery timetable.

Graham Knowles, Chair, UL Hospitals Group, said: "We are on the cusp of a transformative change in Irish healthcare delivery and organisation with three essential drivers for that change. Slaintecare has a strong focus on integrated care and we expect that the implementation plan for Slaintecare will shortly be published. This will be a gamechanger.

Secondly, we have had the Capacity Review, with anything from between 2,600 and 7,000 extra beds being recommended, the reason for that variation being all around the choices we are going to make, choices as a society and as a health system, on whether we can continue to remain bed-centric or we build up the alternatives to acute hospitals.

And thirdly a renewed focus on corporate governance across the HSE that will underpin and oversee the kind of changes we are looking at over the next 10 years. It is very exciting to be involved in a time of change. Our Strategy lays out our own priorities that in a way transcend everything that is going on nationally. We believe there is nothing in what we are setting out to achieve that contradicts national policy and if anything it is complementary," Mr Knowles said.

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