Can Houston hospitals do more?
The Houston medical community is renowned for providing quality care and fostering breakthrough research. But its influence may soon rise to a level with real-life impact for entire patient populations around the world, due to efficiencies some may consider anomalous to the healthcare sector.
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) hosts the most concentrated population of talented physicians in the country, if not the world. In contrast, HCA Houston Healthcare's access points sprawl across the region through a tightly connected system that drives efficiencies for staff, physicians and of course, patients.
While both are esteemed healthcare forces providing high acuity and specialty care, among other key services, the models differ. Traditionally focused on developing the TMC facilities first, some Houston hospital brands have only recently crept into the neighborhoods where HCA Houston hospitals have maintained decades-long relationships. Through methodical investments in partnership, physical and virtual points of care and enhanced training for nurses and physicians HCA Houston helps sustain the social, economic and health profile of the region. To date, HCA Houston’s hospitals have largely remained in those communities, but just as TMC brands move to the suburbs, the former’s influence is starting to close the gap in TMC.
Globally connected through HCA Healthcare, our network includes the largest clinical data management system in the healthcare field, used in part to find ways to reduce infection, improve pregnancy outcomes and further cancer research. We strive to apply proven results from one part of the country to every other applicable patient encounter.
And with a more visible backing under the new, unified brand, the impact could be immense.
As part of that network, the communities of Clear Lake, Conroe, Pasadena, west Houston, Kingwood and other high-growth areas have long benefited from medical expertise beyond Houston, as have our recognized specialty care facilities The Woman's Hospital of Texas and Texas Orthopedic Hospital, located in central Houston.
Along with The Woman’s Hospital of Texas and Texas Orthopedic Hospital, Medical Center rounds out the vision for specialty care hospitals. Woman’s Hospital delivers more babies than any other hospital in Texas and is a pioneer in the care of moms and babies, particularly related to high risk pregnancy and NICU care. Texas Orthopedic is an international destination hospital for patients seeking specialty orthopedic care, including joint replacement, spine surgery and orthopedic trauma. The city's most elite physicians are finally meeting face to face with the resources that we believe change the trajectory of not only their individual influence but the health of Houston and beyond.
And Medical Center is on a journey to become the first destination specialty surgical hospital in Houston.
Investment symbolizes the vision
Go back to 2017, a few months before Hurricane Harvey hit home.
That summer, HCA Healthcare made a commitment to expand its presence in Houston with an investment in what is now aptly named HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center. The journey to become a destination surgical hospital began, one that has included:
- Integration into the newly united HCA Houston Healthcare brand
- $30 million investment in infrastructure and a robotic surgical program
- Establishment of the leading cardiovascular practice, Houston Heart
- Alignment of specialty colorectal practice, Houston Colon
- The newly announced $60 million expansion project, set out to enhance clinical and public areas
HCA Houston’s vision is to match global resources with local, legendary expertise. Injecting capital into the equation makes scale and skill tangible.
How “access” factors in
A cohesive access point strategy helps satisfy the modern patient's increasingly self-driven care journey, from digital appointment and record management to virtual care options and back to the network of brick and mortar facilities. If done right, all points work in concert to meet consumers wherever they live, work and travel. But the epitome of an accessible care model is one that also prioritizes better access for physicians.
That means access to patients, quality nurses, research, technology, short- and long-term professional development opportunities and – maybe most importantly – a network of talented colleagues furthering the dialogue around achieving a healthier tomorrow.
A deeper provider-physician model is key to achieve that kind of access. Options plus infrastructure allow for more flexibility for both parties, and the HCA Houston Healthcare model is a differentiator even within the healthcare capital of the world. We're a system that equally celebrates legacy and entrepreneurship.
- Multiple partnership options support physicians in different stages of their careers or within different specialties
- We involve physicians in clinical development initiatives that are broader than just one hospital. They can access more resources and best practices right within the company, which means we disseminate best practices efficiently, to the benefit of the entire care team and patient. Physicians can easily integrate into an entire system of evidence-based practitioners and researchers around the U.S. and U.K.
- We facilitate relationships to strengthen our legacy in the community
This fluidity begets more access. As partnerships, data and expertise move across the system, the more frequently our teams establish best practices and share them back into the hospitals more efficiently. It's a system that nourishes itself, turning encounter data into nationally developed specialty that benefits the community, and goes back again for continued improvement.
The faster adoption of more and more best practices can lead to:
- Less invasive procedures
- Shorter hospital stays
- Less painful recoveries
- Focus on health and wellness over treatment, potentially lowering the community's risk for developing certain chronic conditions and co-morbidities
- More consumer-friendly encounters: care that is perceived as less overwhelming due to cost, time, or feeling at ease may lead to consumers seeking care more readily
Proof in progress
Medical Center's recent investments underscore our efforts to improve clinical quality around the country, and certainly here locally.
"Our team at Medical Center has had the distinct honor and responsibility of introducing some of Houston's most elite physicians to this model," says Peyton Elliott, CEO of HCA Houston Medical Center. "We're able to give them a platform to provide care at a level this city has not yet seen."
Currently enjoying that platform are the teams at Houston Heart and Houston Colon.
Houston knows sophisticated cardiovascular care, and not just in the Texas Medical Center. Skill in treating even the most complex conditions is amazingly not a differentiator by itself. But distinctive expertise launched by a national platform launches can lead to momentous medical discovery. Dr. Pranav Loyalka, founding physician of Houston Heart and now practicing at HCA Houston Medical Center, has been practicing medicine for over twenty years and is a world-renowned leader in the treatment of structural heart disease. His work has been published and cited in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, by the National Institutes of Health, and others. He has a strong commitment to saving and improving each patient’s life, focusing on the whole journey of healing, and not just administering treatment.
But Dr. Loyalka’s true impact on complex cardiac care is just beginning to reveal itself. Now aligned with the HCA Research Institute, Dr. Loyalka actively engages with leaders from around the country on clinical trials involving:
- Trans catheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR)
- Transcatheter clip repair
- Trans catheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Houston, already a pinnacle provider of complex cardiac care, may become unmatched, as will its ecosystem of physicians, nurses and their patients.
How often do you hear about colorectal disease? In pleasant company, it can be a taboo topic, which is even more reason to treat patients with an abundance of dignity and specialized care.
The team at Houston Colon, led by Dr. Eric M. Haas, now on staff at HCA Houston Medical Center, practice the NICE procedure (Natural-orifice Intra-Corporeal anastomosis with Extraction), a minimally invasive state of the art technique that allows the physician to remove colon cancer without an open incision and, in nearly all cases, without a colostomy. Also benefiting from the HCA Healthcare research network, Dr. Haas has been able to share this incision-free procedure not just around Houston, but among other world-class physicians and cancer care providers around the country, and all within the same system.
The gap is closing
The healthcare industry sometimes has a reputation for being too complex to innovate quickly. But the value of an expansive, globally connected system is operational efficiencies in many areas, including innovation. Best practices are disseminated faster, physicians have expedient access to millions of data points, and ultimately, the potential for improved patient outcomes is not just possible, but plausible.
HCA Houston Medical Center's continued capital infusion facilitates that connection to the nth degree.
The largest healthcare system in the country has successfully synced scale and skill in the heart of the healthcare capital of the world. If you pay attention to what's going on at Medical Center, you'll see the future of Houston healthcare unfolding in real time.