When hospital leaders come together with the goal of holistic, team-based care centered on the patient, business flourishes. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), this focus was embedded upon inception and financial success has been a constant for the hospital system. As of 2014, both revenues and profits for CTCA have grown at a compounding annual rate of 15% to 20% for several years.1 One of five CTCA hospitals, Eastern Regional Medical Center (ERMC) in Philadelphia, Pa. has seen high year over year growth since its launch in 2006.
CTCA founder Richard J. Stephenson created a culture combining a whole-person treatment approach with a compassionate, nurturing environment. Creating a “mother standard” of care, the hospital system provides a patient-centered approach to cancer treatment, an approach that one would want for their own mother. At ERMC, the Mother Standard® is expressed and manifested by staff at all levels, from the CEO, CFO, and CNO to housekeeping staff and shuttle drivers. There is a deep-seated commitment to “looking at care through the patients’ eyes,” finding out and providing what the patients want. In fact, ERMC will absorb costs for extra services not covered by insurance if the services are valuable to patients. At ERMC, the patient is “at the center of [their] hearts and souls.”
COMPLEMENTARY AND INTEGRATIVE THERAPIES
ERMC offers a unique integrative approach to cancer care that includes both standard medical, surgical, and radiological oncology treatments integrated with complementary and integrative therapies. Each patient is assigned a Patient Empowered Care® (PEC) team comprised of an oncologist, nurse manager, naturopathic doctor, nutritionist and two care managers. Integrated therapies – such as nutrition, herbs and supplements, mind-body
therapies, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, and pastoral care – are fully incorporated into each patient’s individual treatment plan. Their approach is to “focus on the person not the cancer.”
By providing such holistic and integrative care, ERMC maximizes the health and strength of the patient – body, mind, and spirit – leaving them in the strongest position possible to fight cancer and withstand side effects of treatment, while also improving their quality of life. As one administrator notes, “We leave no stone unturned to create a healing environment.”
PATIENT AND STAFF LOYALTY
ERMC’s financial success is due in part to patient loyalty and resultant referrals leading to sustained growth.
Patient satisfaction with ERMC’s integrative care is reflected in high patient loyalty and experience of care scores. ERMC’s Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores are substantially higher than regional and national averages. Of the 18 Philadelphia hospitals participating in the public reporting system, ERMC scores the highest in overall hospital rating (88% of respondents give ERMC a score of 9 or 10) and likelihood to recommend (91% answered they would definitely recommend).
ERMC was recognized as a best place to work in the Philadelphia Business Journal for the past three years and administrators report minimal recruiting costs for professional positions. They have a 2% nurse turnover rate, significantly less than the regional (14.2%) and national (18%) averages. Calculated potential cost avoidance is in the $4-5 million range.
Potential cost avoidance for nurse turnover rate at ERMC is $4,387,730 compared to other hospitals in the northeast region; $5,394,750 compared to national hospitals of a similar size.
As one ERMC administrator states, “…build your reputation and the financials will follow.”
OHE IN PRACTICE
“ERMC is exemplary in their provision of holistic team-based care combined with complementary and integrative therapies. They illustrate how Optimal Healing Environment initiatives can financially benefit a hospital system,” said Wayne B. Jonas, MD, President and CEO, Samueli Institute.
Learn more about becoming an OHE
Download a print-friendly version of this article: ERMC Business Case
(1) Herzlinger RE KN. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (A). Boston: Harvard Business School; 2014.
This work is supported by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Award No. W81XWH-08-1-0615. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation. In the conduct of research where humans are the subjects, the investigator(s) adhered to the policies regarding the protection of human subjects as prescribed by Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 45, Volume 1, Part 46; Title 32, Chapter 1, Part 219; and Title 21, Chapter 1, Part 50 (Protection of Human Subjects).