Changing Medicine. Changing Lives. ®

June 19, 2017

Growing through partnerships

Growth through strategic partnerships is what Goal 5 of UI Health Care’s new Integrated Strategic Plan is all about.

In the coming years, we will be seeking new opportunities for clinical, research, and education partnerships while also continuing to enhance and develop current partnerships. For instance, teams are working on strategies to enhance our global reach for research activities and develop new methods of remote learning.

In the clinical arena, we have demonstrated the success that can be achieved when we collaborate with others who share our values. Working with our University of Iowa Health Alliance (UIHA) partners, patient access increased to include the 18 member and affiliate hospitals and 3,000 physicians in the network. In addition, UIHA partners collaborate on the latest in technology, care models, and business operations.

We are also already making progress on another Goal 5 strategy—expanding our physical geographic presence—we opened a new occupational medicine clinic in Johnston, Iowa, in April. This summer, we will also open clinical space in an underserved area of Waterloo. In addition to being a place for ongoing outpatient care, the facilities will serve as a consistent and updated location for many of our outreach specialty clinics.

Virtual presence and access to health care is also addressed in this goal, which calls for continued use and expansion of telehealth and telemedicine. There are already many applications underway with plans to expand in our virtual hospitalist program, remote diabetes monitoring, and e-consults and e-referrals. In addition, the Signal Center’s Innovation Lab continues to look at new applications, such as developing telemedicine education models, including virtual grand rounds.

I am very grateful to everyone working to develop specific plans for each of the strategic plan’s five goals. You can read more about Goal 5 below. If you have ideas for the team, please contact one of the leaders listed, or as always, you can send comments or suggestions to To learn more about the overall Integrated Strategic Plan, visit The Point.

Goal 5: Strong Partnerships

The focus for Goal 5 is growth in Iowa and beyond by working with partners who share our values. The Goal 5 team is comprised of faculty and staff members from all areas of our tripartite mission—patient care, research, and education—and its leaders are:

  • Jennifer Vermeer, assistant vice president, Health Policy and Population Health
  • James Choi, MD, assistant dean, Student Affairs and Curriculum
  • Eli Perencevich, MD, MS, associate chair, Clinical and Health Services Research

There are five main strategies for Goal 5 (listed below), each with a set of critical tasks that the team will prioritize and put into work plans. In addition, the team will determine the metrics that indicate success for each strategy.

Strategy 5.1 Establish partnership(s) that will drive growth, dollars and increase scale.

  • Evaluate current and develop new clinical, research, and education partnerships and determine appropriate models and legal/contracting frameworks.
  • Identify differentiated regional or statewide clinical and educational services to deploy in conjunction with partners.
  • Identify barriers and framework for assessment of potential partnerships.
  • Make it easy to partner with UI Health Care.
  • Identify investment partners or seed capital.
  • Create a structure to market ourselves, engage with partners, make decisions quickly, and execute nimbly—a vetting and decision-making process that is rapid and nimble.

Strategy 5.2 Improve access to and increase UI Health Care’s share of complex care.

  • Foster a culture of entrepreneurship.
  • Establish a support structure for use and expansion of telehealth to increase access.
  • Establish a dedicated team to streamline front-end processes and ensure access for making referrals successful.
  • Address culture, incentives, and robust stakeholder (physician, nursing) engagement.

Strategy 5.3 Expand geographic reach—defined as physical presence.

  • Develop community-based physician network.
  • Devise where to locate in phases.
  • Determine capital needs and hiring approach.
  • Develop operating and financial model (regional organizational structure).

Strategy 5.4 Enhance UI Health Care’s position in primary care.

  • Identify primary care leader to grow and build the business.
  • Build clinically integrated network.
  • Determine whether and when to buy, build, or partner.
  • Identify opportunities for capital.

Strategy 5.5 Enhance global reach for research activities and relationships.

  • Establish models of community research endeavors and risk versus reward thresholds.
  • Change culture of collaboration and of succeeding in partnerships.
  • Address access for referrals and helping in research coordination across network.
  • Establish quality metrics for trials/audit functions.
  • Demonstrate value to stakeholders.

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