New Jersey Health System finds innovative ways to grow

Virtua Health, a system based in Camden, New Jersey, has found ways to grow while others in the area are in financial turmoil.  Virtua plans to add a wellness center to its system this spring in an effort to reach deeper into the surrounding suburbs.

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Memorial Health and West Jersey Health merged in 1998 to form Virtua with the goal of taking the new system out of the "middle of the pack" in quality and patient satisfaction.

They have succeeded in doing this by using Six Sigma strategies.  Strategies used include:

  • weekly financial reviews
  • reviews of patient satisfaction
  • ranking of all managers to determine those "in need of improvement,"
  • setting goals for new programs and technologies
  • using a nurse navigator to set up appointments, explain treatment, and follow patients through recovery

Cooper University Hospital, in the same neighborhood as Virtua, complains that the number of Medicare and Medicaid patients that Virtua sees is disproportionate to its market share, according to a consultant's report submitted by Cooper.

(SOURCES: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://philly.com, March 3, 2010; Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, March 4, 2010)