What’s Your Vision?


Closeup image of Vision flow chart on a blackboardIn the coming months, all of us in academic healthcare should be able to articulate a clear vision for our continuing leadership role. At Thomas Jefferson University and the TJUH System we’re beginning to map out a new blueprint for strategic action – starting with our vision.

The question I’ve asked at Jefferson, all of you can ask yourselves. What should your institution’s vision of the future look like? What excites you when you come to work and captures your passion for the future? I would enjoy hearing from anyone – at Jefferson or elsewhere. But first: Why is a vision so important?

The optimistic future belongs to those who are willing to change … and for academic medical centers the future will have its share of challenges. Hospital reimbursements throughout the country are declining, admissions are down, research revenues are being held at historically low levels, and students are becoming progressively more tuition sensitive. I believe all of these very significant issues, seen in a different light, can provide a “burning platform” for real change. The successful will be those who are best prepared now for the changes that are coming quickly.

At Jefferson, our main focus will be to fundamentally change the way we do things, to enter into more creative engagement strategies with our students and patients, and more substantive partnerships with community organizations, community clinicians and hospitals. The winners in our marketplace will be those who do more with less and combine science and learning into new teams in new ways. The status quo is gone, and we must ensure that academic health centers meet the challenges ahead.

The new blueprint for strategic action at Jefferson is a focused, creative, and strategic framework for how we will move forward through the next ten years — confident that we will emerge as one of the academic medical centers best poised to lead our region to a new level of health. Over the next few months we will continue to engage our many stakeholders as we develop our vision. A vision is aspirational and explains the impact we want to have in the future. It represents a point on the horizon—something that we work toward becoming, and not what we currently do. For example, Mayo Clinic’s vision is to “provide an unparalleled experience as a trusted partner in healthcare.” Outside of healthcare, Amazon’s is “to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” In my former job at USF Health, our vision was to “make life better.”

What’s critical, here and elsewhere, is that all voices are heard. We need to talk, debate, and share our best ideas for creating an optimistic future for health in this country. And, we cannot wait any longer. Are you prepared?