Each month BizWest invites a business leader to reflect on the issues affecting his or her industry. This month, BizWest asked Jennifer Alderfer, the new president of Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, to discuss her new role and what’s ahead for Good Sam.
BizWest: You’re new in your role at Good Samaritan. What excites you the most about the hospital you now lead?
Jennifer Alderfer: I was blessed to take on the role of Good Samaritan Medical Center president just over seven months ago. I’m most excited about building upon Good Samaritan’s success from the past 13 years and continuing the legacy of putting our patients and their loved ones at the center of every thought, communication and action that occurs within the medical center.
BW: What do you think will be the biggest challenge for Good Samaritan in the next five years?
Alderfer: Good Samaritan is located in a rapidly growing part of the metropolitan area. It will be an exciting challenge to ensure Good Samaritan grows at just the right pace to continue to meet the needs of this expanding community. Additionally, as is the case with businesses across many industries, technology is creating many opportunities within the healthcare market. All healthcare organizations are challenged with keeping equipment, training, processes and supplies up-to-speed with what’s available. The possibilities are endless in terms of where to focus our efforts and invest our energy. We are fortunate to have a strategic multi-disciplinary team of leaders with a wealth of experience in healthcare that is committed to vetting our options and looking at the long-term impact of these decisions and actions.
BW: Health-care costs are obviously an issue nationwide, and hospitals are just one piece of the puzzle. Please name one or two strategies that hospitals can use to hold down health-care costs.
Alderfer: Being a responsible steward of healthcare resources is a priority for both SCL Health and Good Samaritan Medical Center. Several strategies are in place to ensure we are doing our part to help control healthcare costs. One example includes partnering across the medical center, including with our physician partners, to reduce variation in the delivery of care and, where appropriate, to standardize in alignment with best demonstrated practices to drive optimal patient outcomes. Another example includes partnering with our pre-hospital or emergency medical services (EMS) partners on early identification of sepsis (the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death) to streamline care. We are also collaborating with city and county municipalities and mental health providers to ensure patients who need behavioral health services have access to those services at the appropriate time.
While owning a building seems like something every successful business should do, that’s not always the case. For many companies, it makes more sense to continue leasing space, freeing up time and capital that can be better utilized in other ways.
BW: New hospitals have formed in a region that could be served by Good Samaritan. How are you responding to the competitive pressures?
Alderfer: We are continually growing our services and capabilities to meet the needs of our community. One example of Good Samaritan’s response to competitive pressures and, more importantly, to community need involves our commitment to trauma care.
Good Samaritan Medical Center is the only Level II Trauma Center off of the Highway 36 corridor between Denver and Boulder, and no other hospitals in our area outside of Boulder and Denver properly match our ability to respond to high level trauma medical needs that result from such things as falls, cycling injuries, or motor vehicle accidents. In fact, Good Samaritan Medical Center has been recognized by third party organizations — such as the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association, and Healthgrades — for our response to stroke and heart issues as well as emergency events where quick response and access to highly trained, specialized physicians can mean the difference between life and death.
BW: Innovation is important in health care. What are the areas of innovative focus for your organization?
Alderfer: Good Samaritan Medical Center and our parent company, SCL Health, are both committed to identifying, initiating, and deploying ventures that improve the access and experience of the people and communities we serve. Several areas of innovative focus include:
Doc on Demand, which allows our patients convenient access to their physicians for much-needed medical advice through the use of a mobile device.
Partnering with Lyft to provide access to safe and reliable transportation for our patients to and from care appointments.
Putting bacteria-killing UV-C lights in the hands of our environmental services specialists to ensure our patient care areas are cleaned and sanitized through the use of technologically-advanced equipment.