DOS 752 - Week 1 Discussion
Provide the link for the class and explain why you think it is a good or bad mission and vision statement. Do you think it would make an impact on its customers?
Post: Loyola's Mission Statement and SWOT Analysis
The Mission Statement for the Loyola University Medical System is:
"We, Loyola University Health System, a regional health ministry of Trinity Health, serve together in the spirit of the Gospel as a compassionate and transforming healing presence within our communities.
Loyola University Health System is committed to excellence in patient care and the education of health professionals. We believe that our Catholic heritage and Jesuit traditions of ethical behavior, academic distinction, and scientific research lead to new knowledge and advance our healing mission in the communities we serve. We believe that thoughtful stewardship, learning and constant reflection on experience improve all we do as we strive to provide the highest quality health care.
We believe in God’s presence in all our work. Through our care, concern, respect and cooperation, we demonstrate this belief to our patients and families, our students and each other. To fulfill our mission we foster an environment that encourages innovation, embraces diversity, respects life, and values human dignity.
We are committed to going beyond the treatment of disease. We also treat the human spirit."1
This is a much longer mission statement than I had previously been aware of before trying to find it for this assignment, since most marketing material shortens it down to the final line of "we also treat the human spirit". As mission statements go, I feel that this is for the most part a pretty good one. It is thorough and specific in declaring not only what the organization's values are, but how they were inspired and formed. Beyond that, it mentions specific ways of living up to the ideals of the organization. My only concern is that it declares the organization to have a specific religious affiliation which may not be shared by all of its thousands of employees from diverse backgrounds. The inclusive language of "we believe..." implies that all of the members of the organization share that specific belief system. I think the statement could be better crafted if it promoted the idea of shared values rather than shared beliefs. That would be more inclusive to people of other belief systems and of people who do not hold to any religious belief system but still strive towards excellence and compassion.
The radiation oncology department at Loyola Medicine seems to be a good example of this idea. I have seen team members from many backgrounds working in harmony towards the common goal of high quality compassionate care without ever bringing religious overtones into discussions. Most belief systems, whatever their origin, boil down to "treat others as you would like to be treated", so this is in perfect harmony with running a healthcare environment well.
Operationally, Loyola Radiation Oncology excels in many areas, and it is actively trying to grow in other areas. Its interactions with the community and the competitive environment in the region can be analyzed with a SWOT (strenghts, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.
Strengths: Loyola has attracted and held onto a world class faculty of radiation oncologists including pioneers like Dr. Bahman Emami. The collected wisdom of this faculty allows us to offer a variety of specialized therapies not generally available at most centers. These include many forms of interstitial brachytherapy for the head and neck and lungs (in addition to the more conventional sites), hyperthermia, and stereotactic radiosurgery. Education and research are strong features of Loyola's department. We have a radiation oncology residency program and a new medical physics residency program. Loyola also partners with UWLAX to train one dosimetrist each year. Everything in the department is done with a teaching mindset. The only thing missing is a therapist training program. Age distribution is not something that is usually considered when listing strengths, but there is a good mix of people who are early-career, mid-career, and late-career in every segment of the department. We are not facing a retirement time bomb where half of the staff retires in the same 5 year period.
Weaknesses: Scheduling of physicians seems to be a consistent problem at every healthcare organization. In order to see as many patients as they need to each day, patient consultations are scheduled to be very short. Physicians tend to not want to rush these visits, and visits for some specialized services are always long, even though they may be scheduled as standard visits. The physicians are expected to be present for many departmental operations such as the beginnings of treatments and simulations, and they are also needed in dosimetry every day, so they are frequently pulled in three directions at once, leaving patients to deal with overdue appointment times on a regular basis. Another weakness is more of a technical concern. Loyola has four linear accelerators that each have different capabilities. When one machine goes down, those patients can sometimes move to another machine without replanning, but many plans need to be recalculated because not all of the machines offer the same beam energy choices. Once the Novalis linac is replaced with a Varian Edge, it will have micro-MLCs, which are not the same size as the MLCs on the other linacs. This means the TrueBeam, which is also capable of delivering stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) plans, can not deliver Edge plans. If we replace the MLCs on the TrueBeam with ones that match the Edge, then the TrueBeam can not deliver plans for the Varian 21 EX machines.
Opportunities: Loyola recently established a relationship with Northwestern Medicine to allow patients to be referred to the Chicago Proton Center at Central DuPage Hospital. By adding proton therapy to the list of services available through Loyola Medicine, we now have almost a complete set of every treatment option possible. The only things missing are CyberKnife and GammaKnife, though it could be argued that a well-established linac-based SRS program offers equivalent capabilities. TomoTherapy could also be an interesting addition to the list of services, since some plans are well-suited to that form of delivery.
Threats: People can always leave, and if they do, they take their expertise with them. I am not sure if Dr. Emami is ever planning to retire, but he has certainly earned the right to say he wants to scale back at any time. Among our other physicians are the current president of the American College of Radiation Oncology, and many other thought-leaders in their subfields. It would be a distinct hit to the department if any of them left. The other large threat is uncertainty about the future of economics in medicine. As hospital systems merge and reimbursement systems change, departments must be able to adapt to the changing landscape. For example, if staff becomes disgruntled about changes to benefits packages after joining another health system, this could affect individual job performance and by extension the performance of the entire department.
Like it or not, hospitals are businesses that need to earn money to keep the lights on and keep the machines running. Running these kinds of analyses helps keep administration aware of ways to keep the organization thriving.
- Mission statement. Loyola Medicine Website. https://www.loyolamedicine.org/about-loyola/mission-statement. Accessed November 4, 2015.