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Future of Health Care in Good Hands

April 11, 2012

By student writer Gloria Lee

Baylor Health Care System, one of the most respected healthcare systems in the nation, has an equally respected and visionary leader. His leadership and vision can potentially change healthcare on a national level.

Joel T. Allison was presented the 2012 Distinguished Business Leader Award by the Dallas Chapter of the Texas Association of Business last week.

Allison, a Baylor University alumnus and sponsor of the Baylor Business Network, is CEO and President of Baylor Health Care. Since Allison’s promotion to CEO in 2000, Baylor Health Care has grown tremendously, according to Brenda Morris, Senior Executive Director of the Baylor Business Network.

One current goal Allison has for Baylor Health Care is Vision 2015.

“A few years ago, I decided it would be important for Baylor to not wait on Washington’s direction for healthcare reform,” Allison said. “So we created Baylor’s Vision 2015, a guide through this uncertain time.”

Achieving Vision 2015 means Baylor Health Care will be recognized as one of the top five health care systems in the nation by that year, Allison said.

Allison believes one of the steps to emerging as leaders is to create new models of care.

“This means providing higher quality, more effective and efficient care to patients,” Allison said. “Through its new models, Baylor is already placing greater emphasis on primary care, chronic disease management and preventative health services.”

The new Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute, an example of a new model of care, aspires to save lives through education and prevention as much as saving lives through treatment.

“It was one of the most unique projects I have ever been part of,” Allison said. “Hospitals are typically in the business of sick care, what we are doing through this institute is true health care.  And that I think is really the future.”

The $15 million institute opened in one of the nation’s most undeserved neighborhoods, Allison said. It brings treatment and prevention in an area three-times more likely to die from diabetes compared to those in Dallas as a whole, according to Allison.

Some offerings of the institute include healthy cooking classes, exercise programs and a weekly farmer’s market so residents can enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

The institute has been in operation for almost two years now and has seen outstanding results, Allison said.

“I believe that if this kind of model--a public/private partnership between Baylor and the City of Dallas, one that emphasizes wellness, prevention and personal accountability--can be replicated in communities across the country, it could have a tremendous impact on the health of America,” Allison said.

Also in Vision 2015 is the continuation of building and development of new centers like the new Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center and Baylor Cancer Hospital.

Allison also plans to fully implement Baylor Health Care’s electronic health record (EHR), which they have invested more than $270 million in. EHR is a major change in the way patients are cared for, increasing quality, safety and lowering cost by improving efficiency.

Baylor Health Care has received many local, regional and national awards for its high quality, patient-centered health care like the National Quality Healthcare Award and the Leap Frog Patient-Centered Care Award.

Allison has also received many, including the B’nai B’rith National Healthcare Award and the Texas Hospital Association’s Earl M. Collier Award for Distinguished Health Care Administration.

Link to YouTube video by Baylor Health Care System: http://youtu.be/6-jIuw5xsm0

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