Kate Flynn: the health of the Philadelphia region

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in this Friday’s edition.

The Health Care Improvement Foundation works with all of the Delaware Valley’s 60 hospitals, each year, in one capacity or another, in the hopes of improving common best practices in and around Philadelphia.flynn-kate-j.jpg New president Kate Flynn only hopes to carry on the nonprofit’s mission.

“I want to continue the work that we’ve started, extending beyond the walls of the hospital, to embrace and engage other parts of the health care community,” she said. “What we have in common is the patient.”

Early January saw Flynn moving to HCIF in Center City, after consulting for the group while with VHA East Coast in Trevose.

“We engage hospitals and health care providers to work towards standard approaches across, if we can, the entire region,” she said. “We convene and act as facilitator.”

The group, which receives funding from Independence Blue Cross, is aligned with the Delaware Valley Health Care Council, and works with the ECRI Institute, among other partners, organizes forums and workshops for the region’s health care leaders.

The group has been a leader in the fight against MRSA, a staph infection, by working with communities and health care facilities to educate the public on its dangers.

“It takes a village to make that happen,” she said.

An ongoing task of theirs is to increase collaboration between the region’s medical facilities to increase patient safety.

“The specialization of medical care has done so much, but the unintended consequence is a ton of communication issues,” she said. “Philadelphia has world class medical institutions and medical research and education for all kinds of medical and allied health. We want to bring Philadelphia’s reputation for patient safety to that same world class level.”

They involve themselves in broader concepts of safety, too.

Currently, the group is working with 20 regional health care providers on an environmentally friendly pilot hospital. They’ve also assisted in coordinating disaster preparedness strategies in Philadelphia and beyond.

Now Flynn is charged with these tasks and more.

“Our goal, as an organization,” she said. “Is to make the Delaware Valley the safest place in the world to receive medical care.”

See other reporting by Christopher Wink here.