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Stanford Medicine leaders introduce integrated strategic plan

More than 400 faculty, staff and students assembled March 23 to hear Stanford Medicine leaders lay out the principles of an integrated strategic plan aimed at aligning the goals and priorities of the medical school and hospitals.

- By Ruthann Richter

Dean Lloyd Minor (left) and Stanford Health Care CEO David Entwistle discuss the integrated strategic planning effort at a March 23 town hall. 
Rod Searcey

The world is entering a new era in biomedicine and health care, and Stanford Medicine can lead the revolution toward proactive, precise health care with a unified, collective effort, Stanford Medicine’s leaders said March 23 at a town hall meeting.

Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, and David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care, introduced an integrated strategic plan for the medical school and hospitals that constitute Stanford Medicine. The creation of this plan was a joint effort by Minor, Entwistle and Christopher Dawes, who recently retired as president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health.

With more than 400 faculty, staff and students attending the event at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, Minor and Entwistle laid out the vision for a collaborative future that was developed by all three entities.

The integrated strategic plan has been nearly a year in the making, involving survey feedback from 4,000 members of the Stanford Medicine community and 120 interviews, as well as the recommendations of 13 working groups representing clinical and basic sciences, Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health. It represents the first time the three entities have come together in this comprehensive way to chart a path for the future.

“The process itself brings us together as a community, … and in coming together, we’ve been able to achieve remarkable consensus and agreement on our mission and values,” Minor said in a video shown at the meeting. “We face many external challenges and pressures in biomedicine and health care today, and in order to effectively address those challenges and be true to our mission and values, we have to have an integrated plan, and then we have to be able to execute on the plan.”

Overarching principles

The plan to lead the biomedical revolution in precision health has two overarching principles: being human-centered and discovery-led. To be “human-centered” includes valuing not only patients but also students, trainees and other community members that Stanford Medicine touches. “Discovery-led” emphasizes the process of discovery, developing a wide-ranging base of knowledge about health and biomedical science and then using it to create new approaches to care that can be applied not only to patients at Stanford but around the world.

The Stanford Medicine leaders encouraged faculty, staff and students to continue providing feedback on the strategic plan.
Rod Searcey

“The potential for what we can achieve in this plan is quite limitless,” Entwistle said in the video. “You look at the innovative, technologically driven, research-driven organization that Stanford is. We have incredible breadth and opportunity. One of the challenges of an organization is there are always a lot of bright, shiny things out there we want to work on and do. The question is, can we pull together our collective resources and really be able to do a few things very well.”

The plan calls for some sharing of resources, creating what Minor called “hubs of activity,” where clinicians and researchers can work collaboratively on projects. He cited, as an example, the new cryoelectron microscopy hub at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, which has put Stanford at the forefront of this new technology — an imaging technique that fires electrons at proteins frozen in solution to determine their structure — and which is being used by a number of School of Medicine faculty members.

For patient care, the plan aims to address rising costs while streamlining the patient experience and making it highly individualized. Entwistle cited the new Clinical Genomics Program, which was officially launched March 22, as an example of this personalized approach to care. The center uses a technology known as whole-exome sequencing to diagnose adults and children with undiagnosed genetic illnesses.

Embracing digital technologies

The framework envisions greater reliance on digital technologies, which have affected every aspect of society and the economy but have had little impact thus far in the health care sector, Minor said.

“We have the opportunity to lead the digital transformation of health and health delivery,” he told the crowd.

To spur progress, Stanford Medicine plans to create a digital health and innovation hub, where faculty can receive help in bringing new ideas to fruition. The resource center will offer mentoring and feedback and help streamline the process of bringing innovations to life, radiology professor Rusty Hofmann, MD, said in another video shown at the meeting.

The creation of the new integrated strategic plan has followed much the same process Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital used two years ago in devising its own strategic blueprint.

“The vision we created for Lucile Packard is to keep it simple and have a mechanism to communicate it to the rest of the enterprise,” Dawes said in the video. “I’m glad Stanford Medicine has adopted the same framework we used.”

The plan also will be aligned with the university’s long-range plan, which is currently in development. Minor noted that he and university Provost Persis Drell, PhD, will present the two plans together at an April 4 town hall meeting.

The integrated strategic plan is a dynamic initiative that could change over time. The leaders encouraged continued feedback and participation on the part of faculty and staff.

They are scheduled to present the plan to the boards of directors of Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in April and then to the university’s board of trustees in June.

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

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