Campbell Clinic: Sarah Maurice, Chief Operating Officer

by HCE Exchange on July 10, 2013

Sarah-Maurice-thumbThe world-famous Campbell Clinic has built its reputation on the superior orthopaedic care it provides.

Campbell Clinic physicians are internationally recognized for their technique and innovation in orthopaedic surgery. They recently published the 12th edition of the “Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics” textbook that has been translated into seven different languages.

Located in Memphis, Tenn., Campbell Clinic’s operations include four clinic offices and four physical therapy and rehab centers. Its ambulatory surgery center recently received a Certificate of Need that would allow it to expand from 12,000 sq. ft. to 32,000 sq. ft.  This would make it one of the Mid-South’s largest ambulatory surgical centers.

Meeting the demands of its marketplace

Chief Operating Officer Sarah Maurice was hired just prior to receiving the Certificate of Need, and she sees it, as well as the hiring of two new physicians and a physician assistant, as representative of the way Campbell is looking to meet the demands of its marketplace.

“We’re expanding the number of providers so that we can open up access to patients,” she said. “The demand is always there. That never wanes. If we can increase supply, then that only helps the community that we serve.”

She added that Campbell Clinic’s surgery center has backlogs, especially as the baby-boomer population continues to grow. Baby boomers want to stay active later on in life and as a result, are opting to have elective surgeries, such as knee or hip replacements, earlier in life.

“They want to benefit from the value it brings, and the implants last much longer than they did in the past, so the technology is there to really be able to do that,” Maurice observed.

Last year, the clinic upgraded all of its X-Ray equipment at its main location in Germantown, Tenn., to a DR system that improves image quality, throughput, and operational efficiency. It also exposes patients to less radiation. The organization plans to roll this out to satellite locations before the end of 2013.

Forming personal relationships with the front line

Additionally, Maurice herself has become more involved with Campbell Clinic’s hands-on, in-the-trenches work. Once a month at one of their locations, she works alongside the staff, learning each position and role as best she can.

“Being in the clinic environment on the front lines, not dressed in the office suit, gives me a firsthand look at what it’s really like for our staff and also what it’s really like for our patients,” she said. “It’s difficult to make decisions from behind my desk about improving operational efficiency if I don’t really understand how we operate.”

Maurice previously worked with Methodist Healthcare as a physician-alignment specialist. Forming relationships was key in this role, she said, and it’s this primary leadership value that she brings to Campbell Clinic.

“I was a point of reference for any and every question when it came to plugging newly acquired practices into corporate operations, ranging the gamut from HR to payroll to IT to finance,” she recalled. “I had to form relationships not only with the physicians of these practices that had aligned with Methodist Healthcare, but also with their frontline staff because these are the ones who are in there doing it day to day. “

Confronting the healthcare shift

Campbell Clinic achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use last year. One of the goals related to Meaningful Use is to make the organization’s medication reconciliation more efficient and safe for the patient.

Although acquiring this information is time-consuming, Maurice said it’s necessary so that a physician prescribing medicine is aware of potential drug interaction. The clinic’s EMR is designed to flag potential drug interaction but only if the data is in there.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re capturing that information from the patient and getting up-to-date medication lists from them, entering that into our EMR and reconciling that with what we’ve already got in the system to ensure that we’re not prescribing to the patient something that could harm them,” she stated. “And that’s a daily task, day in and day out. That’s one thing that we monitor very closely.”

Furthermore, Campbell Clinic has been gradually converting from a fee-for-service environment to a value-based environment. CMS’ reporting metrics, however, have become more demanding, and Maurice said adapting to these changes has been challenging, especially as the clinic tries to adjust seamlessly, without any interruptions to their daily operations or patient experience.

Beefing up supply

The demand in Campbell Clinic’s marketplaces is not waning, Maurice said. Therefore, the clinic is focused on three different angles in which it can shore up its access for the consumer.

First, Campbell Clinic is working on initiatives that improve operational efficiency with its current staff and internal resources. Second, it is looking to grow its market share by adding physicians and mid-level providers, so it can provide additional access for patients. Finally, it is focusing on developing quality metrics that are more suitable for the bundled-payment era of healthcare.

“We want to be the absolute best of the best in operative orthopaedics,” she stated. “We also want to be the best when it comes to operational efficiency.”

As a 104-year-old institution, she is well aware of how Campbell Clinic could settle into the malaise of past success.  But eventually, this would cost the organization, since healthcare is always moving forward.

Maurice observed, “As healthcare continues to evolve as an industry, tighter regulations demand transparency in cost, improved quality, and increased access so that we’re nimble enough as an organization that even with a 104-year history we can still adapt and move forward and progress.”

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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