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OSU Wexner Medical Center

SPONSORED | How OSU Wexner Medical Center is rebuilding the model for academic health care

Hal Paz, MD | January 28, 2020

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Health care is changing more rapidly than ever, for providers and patients alike.

Every day, we see brand-new technology, evolving consumer behavior, shifting payment models and a fluctuating competitive landscape. Corporate giants are entering the healthcare space to overhaul care for their employees.

Leaders of traditional healthcare organizations—including myself, as leader of Health Affairs at The Ohio State University and the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center—are facing the questions of how to get ahead of these industry disruptions and meet ever-evolving consumer expectations.

When I was a medical student, it never occurred to me that I could one day diagnose a patient using a cellphone app designed for telemedicine. I couldn’t have predicted that outpatient care would one day compete with clinics served up by corporate America.

But that day has arrived. And academic health care and other traditional health organizations don’t have to play catch-up.

Because we’ve long held credibility and a bevy of expertise, facilities and other resources to support ambitious goals, we can champion a new model of medicine that embraces these changes and raises the bar for healthcare delivery and research.

Remodeling academic health
At Ohio State, seven health sciences colleges—Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Optometry, Public Health and Veterinary Medicine—combine with a large health system to leverage research and education efforts, quickly integrating them into patient care.

To meet new demand for healthcare services and new treatments, Ohio State is adding 500 new biomedical sciences faculty—both clinicians and research scientists—by 2023. Hiring plans also include adding well over 1,000 new nurses in 2020.

With the rapid pace of healthcare innovation, we believe that an integrated approach to education, research and treatment enables the industry to push boundaries and find life-altering discoveries that translate into personalized clinical treatments.

Creating new environments for a changing landscape

Ohio State’s plans also include devoting more than $3 billion to new facilities:

  • An 840-bed inpatient hospital tower in addition to our existing seven central Ohio hospitals
  • An interdisciplinary health sciences complex that provides 225,000 square feet of collaborative space and state-of-the-art technology for highly interactive interprofessional teaching and learning
  • An interdisciplinary research facility to house 270,000 square feet bursting with discovery and innovation
  • Three large suburban outpatient care centers
  • A dedicated cancer outpatient care center on Ohio State’s West Campus that will hold central Ohio’s first proton therapy treatment facility

Investing in new spaces allows Ohio State to bring together resources from every area of the university and health system to provide a wide array of care to treat the most complex medical cases with the highest-quality care. And they’ll provide an environment to prepare the healthcare providers of the future for a new world of medicine.

Of course, plans for building that future must also stretch beyond new construction.

Setting sights on better health for patients and communities
In healthcare organizations everywhere, providers are expanding personalized medicine by advancing genetics, biology and imaging to customize treatment for an individual’s specific disease. At Ohio State last summer, we unveiled the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC—James), an institute focused on expanding research in this field that harnesses the body’s own immune system as a personalized treatment to fight cancer. The majority of its $100 million funding comes from Pelotonia (https://cancer.osu.edu/giving-back/fundraising-events/pelotonia), an annual, grassroots cycling fundraising event for the OSUCCC — James.

We’re addressing the social determinants of health in vulnerable communities—especially the addiction, smoking, obesity, poverty and lack of access to safe housing that research shows contribute to poor health. Ohio State healthcare professionals bring care to those who most need it—free or at low-cost—via mobile clinics, health screening events, behavioral health programs and specialized clinics for at-risk groups, such as expectant mothers with addiction. Partnerships with local nonprofits help ensure that community members have every basic need met, whether that need is cardiovascular care or fresh, healthful food.

We’re focused on creating an ecosystem of care that starts in the home, making excellent health care available via in-home nurse visits, virtual appointments and other technology that connects patients to providers remotely. Ohio State is harnessing technology to improve telemedicine, patient portals, apps and wearables that seamlessly give patients a 360-degree view of their health, such as its new Ohio State MyHealth app.

To train future health professionals for the modern world, Ohio State is giving our forward-looking students tools like virtual patients and emergency medicine simulators to prepare them for real-life challenges. We’re giving students not only new facilities, but also experiences with scientists in groundbreaking labs and with the community outside of the classroom. And we’re prioritizing interprofessional collaboration—these future physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, public health officials and veterinarians need to work together, because that’s what the world will expect of them upon graduation. It’s vital to help future healthcare professionals achieve success in careers serving others.

We must change the way medicine is practiced in this nation to a more holistic approach that’s patient-centered, inclusive and designed to meet the needs of diverse populations.

By being nimble, innovative and laser-focused on what’s best for our patients and our community, we can create a new, better model for academic health care that will improve global health and decrease the financial and emotional burden of sickness for the next 150 years.

About the Author

Hal Paz, MD, Author

Dr. Harold L. Paz is executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs at The Ohio State University and chief executive officer of the OSU Wexner Medical Center. At Ohio State, Dr. Paz leads all seven health science colleges and serves as CEO of the $4-billion Wexner Medical Center enterprise, which includes seven hospitals, a nationally ranked college of medicine, over 20 research institutes, multiple ambulatory sites, an accountable care organization, and a health plan. Before joining OSU in June 2019, Dr. Paz was executive vice president and chief medical officer at Aetna where he led clinical strategy and policy at the intersection of all of Aetna’s domestic and global businesses. He reported to Aetna’s chairman and CEO and was a member of its executive committee. Prior to joining Aetna in 2014, Dr. Paz served as president and CEO of the Penn State Hershey Health System, senior vice president for health affairs at the Pennsylvania State University, and dean of its College of Medicine for eight years. Before his appointment at Penn State, he spent eleven years as dean of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Group. Dr. Paz received his bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester, a master of science in life science engineering from Tufts University, and his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He completed his residency at Northwestern University, where he served as chief medical resident. Dr. Paz was a Eudowood Fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. In addition, he was a post-doctoral fellow in environmental health science at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.