LEADING THE WAY

A new model of academic health is taking shape at Ohio State

Dr Paz

Hal Paz, MD
Executive Vice President and Chancellor for Health Affairs, The Ohio State University
Chief Executive Officer, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

I don't have to tell you that the healthcare environment is changing more rapidly than ever.

Every day, we see brand-new technology, evolving consumer behavior, shifting payment models and a fluctuating competitive landscape. Corporate giants are entering the healthcare space to overhaul care for their employees. And leaders of traditional healthcare organizations like academic health centers face the questions of how to get ahead of these industry disruptions and meet ever-evolving consumer expectations.

When I was a medical student, it never occurred to me that I could one day diagnose a patient using a cellphone app designed for telemedicine. I couldn't have predicted that outpatient care would one day compete with clinics served up by corporate America.

But that day has arrived. And academic health care doesn't have to play catch-up.

With long-held credibility and a bevy of expertise, facilities and other resources to support ambitious goals, we can champion a new model of academic medicine that embraces these changes and raises the bar for healthcare delivery and research.

I'm thrilled to be part of this charge, leading The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the Health Sciences of The Ohio State University, the nation's third-largest university.

“We must change the way medicine is practiced in this nation to a more holistic approach that’s patient-centered, inclusive and designed to meet the needs of diverse populations.” Click to tweet this story

Remodeling academic medicine

At Ohio State, seven health sciences colleges, including the Ohio State College of Medicine, combine with a large health system to leverage research and education efforts, quickly integrating them into patient care.

It's a medical education model used by most academic health centers, and it's worked well for more than a century. But as technology, competitors, consumer needs and health epidemics evolve, the model of academic health care must evolve, too.

We're already experiencing unprecedented growth. In recent years, Ohio State providers have treated record numbers of patients, with many medical service lines operating at constant capacity.

To meet this demand for healthcare services and new treatments, 500 new biomedical sciences faculty — both clinicians and research scientists — will join Ohio State by 2023. Hiring plans also include adding well over 1,000 new nurses in the next year.

With the latest technology and the brightest minds at hand, we can push boundaries to find life-altering discoveries that translate into clinical treatments. We must personalize health solutions that serve consumers the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

Creating new environments for a changing landscape

Aerial view health sciences center

Ohio State's plans include devoting $3 billion to new facilities:

  • An 840-bed inpatient hospital tower in addition to our existing seven central Ohio hospitals
  • An interdisciplinary health sciences complex that provides 225,000 square feet of collaborative space and state-of-the-art technology for interprofessional learning
  • An interdisciplinary research facility to house 270,000 square feet bursting with discovery and innovation
  • Three large suburban outpatient care centers situated around Columbus' outerbelt
  • An outpatient care center on Ohio State's West Campus that will hold central Ohio's first proton therapy treatment facility

The new spaces allow Ohio State to bring together resources from every area of the university and health system, to provide a wide array of care close to where patients live and to treat the most complex medical cases with the highest-quality care. And they'll provide an environment to prepare the healthcare providers of the future for a new world of medicine.

Of course, plans for building that future must also stretch beyond new construction.

Setting sights on better health for patients and communities

In healthcare organizations everywhere, providers are expanding personalized medicine by advancing genetics, biology and imaging to customize treatment for an individual's specific disease. At Ohio State this year, we unveiled the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, a new institute focused on expanding research in this valuable field that harnesses the body's own immune system as a personalized treatment to fight cancer.

We're addressing the social determinants of health in vulnerable communities — especially the addiction, smoking, obesity, poverty and lack of access to safe housing that contribute to poor health. Ohio State healthcare professionals bring care to those who most need it — free or low-cost — via mobile clinics, health screening events, behavioral health programs and specialized clinics for at-risk groups, such as expectant mothers with addiction. Partnerships with local charities help ensure that community members have every basic need met, whether that need is cardiovascular care or fresh, healthful food.

We're focused on creating an ecosystem of care that starts in the home, making excellent health care available via in-home nurse visits, virtual appointments and other technology that connects patients to providers remotely. Ohio State is harnessing the power of technology to improve telemedicine, patient portals, apps and wearables that seamlessly give patients a 360-degree view of their health.

To train future health professionals for the modern world, Ohio State is giving our forward-looking students tools like virtual patients and emergency medicine simulators to prepare them for real-life challenges. We're providing students not only new facilities, but also experiences with scientists in groundbreaking labs and with the community outside of the classroom. And we're prioritizing the interprofessional collaborations that are a hallmark of Ohio State education — these future physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, public health officials and veterinarians need to work together, because that's what the world will expect of them upon graduation. It's all vital to help these future healthcare professionals achieve success in careers serving others.

We must change the way medicine is practiced in this nation to a more holistic approach that's patient-centered, inclusive and designed to meet the needs of diverse populations.

By being nimble, innovative and laser-focused on what's best for our patients and our community, we can create a new, better model for academic health care that will improve global health and decrease the financial and emotional burden of sickness for the next 150 years.

The world is changing. Medicine is changing. We’re leading the way.

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