Q&A with Lehigh Valley Health Network: Recipient of Healthcare Design’s 10 Outstanding Organizations

Posted 10/11/17 by Deborah Breunig

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With Healthcare Design 2017 in the very near future, I recently chatted with Jennifer C. Fink, ACHE, CHID, MBA, NCIDQ, Administrator of Facilities and Construction at Lehigh Valley Health Network, a recipient of Healthcare Design’s 10 Outstanding Organizations.

As Administrator of Facilities and Construction, Jennifer oversees the development of new facilities, renovations of existing facilities as well as managing the implementation of interior aesthetics including interior design, signage and artwork for the healthcare network. For the past 20+ years the focus of her career has been exclusively on Healthcare Design.

Congratulations to Lehigh Valley Health Network for being recognized as the HDC 10 Outstanding Organization! KI truly values the opportunity to partner with you, IWS, and Corbett, Inc. on your campuses. 

LVHN has been busy! In the past year you have opened two community health centers and an inpatient hospital addition. This is in addition to maintaining your network which includes eight Pennsylvania hospital campuses, 22 health centers in five counties and more than 150 primary and specialty care physician practices.

What do you view as your greatest opportunities for enhancing the patient experience in your new building design as well as in any upcoming renovations?

We are trying to merge design with consumer expectations and operational process. When we built our newest inpatient tower we conducted focus groups and invited community members to give input on what they wanted in terms of experience from an operational perspective as well as what they expected from a physical plant perspective. We were able to incorporate many of their comments on both the facilities and operations side.

Moving forward we want to understand the expectations of our consumers in each of our markets and provide facilities that match or exceed these expectations.

LVHN takes a fresh approach to looking at alternative delivery methods. How do you implement and collaborate with your business partners to ensure your overall vision is understood and executed?

We are fully transparent with our delivery partners and expect them to be the same with us. This allows us to build relationships that can enable enhanced collaboration that produce excellent results in terms of costs and schedules. We share our vision for the project early on and together we monitor this all the way through the project.

Did LVHN look to any other industries for inspiration or new ways of thinking when planning best way to support the population of Lehigh Valley?

We looked to retail and corporate sectors to see where we could adjust our approach to facilities to better serve our populations.  Many of our out-patient facilities are located in retail hubs or in close proximity to residential neighborhoods to provide convenience to our patients.

With your focus on population health will LVHN be looking at different methods of measuring outcomes?  How much of an impact will the built environment have on those patient outcomes?  Any specific examples you can share?

Our population health programs are based in analytics and focused on identifying patients that need the most assistance from LVHN. Since its launch we have seen a decrease in re-admission rates and better adherence to patient protocols (follow-up post visit). Right now this is a targeted deployment and has limited impact on our outpatient facilities. In the future I could see an increase in program participation which may lead to enhanced usage of some of our out-patient facilities or an increase in virtual visits.

Deborah Breunig

About the author: Deborah Breunig

Vice President of A&D Marketing As Vice President of A&D Marketing, Deborah is responsible for building and nurturing relationships with significant influencers and decision-makers throughout the Architectural and Design community. Deborah has been a key marketing contributor to KI for more than 20 years. She most recently served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing – Healthcare. She is responsible for all aspects of A&D strategy; including business development and execution of strategic business and marketing plans. Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from Bellin College of Nursing and an EMBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a licensed registered nurse in the state of Wisconsin and an Evidence-Based Design Accredited Professional (EDAC) with the Center for Health Design.

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