Q&A: Wayne Smith of Delaware Healthcare Association

There are six hospitals throughout Delaware, and while they all work to maximize their individual success, each is part of a larger community that is represented by the Delaware Healthcare Association (DHA). Wayne Smith, who spent 16 years in the Delaware General Assembly and had a successful career in finance, has been president and CEO of DHA for 10 years and is committed to helping the state’s hospitals provide better and more efficient care.

How would you classify the health-care landscape?

It’s the most exciting and disruptive time the industry has ever seen in the United States. We are undergoing a tremendous shift from volume to value. We are moving from a system that wanted more tests
to one that emphasizes outcomes.

How are hospitals trying to be more efficient?

Hospitals are trying to address those individuals with chronic health needs so that they can get the treatment they need, get healed and live healthier lives. Hospitals are one of the biggest drivers of change in Delaware.

How does your work with the Delaware Health Information Network help the overall health-care climate?

It allows for the accumulation and assessment of data across all health-care systems. Before, you had records of a patient in one hospital, and the others didn’t know about them. By aggregating the information, we get a better picture of the patient.

What are some of the things being done to improve care and efficiency?

From a technological standpoint, hospitals are doing a lot with telemedicine. For people without access to transportation or who can’t get out of the house or who live in rural areas, we can put an iPad in their house, and they can be seen by any doctor in the country. That can bring a huge change in care levels and cost reductions.

Also, Nanticoke Hospital and Beebe Healthcare have taken the lead in promoting urgent care. There is still a significant need to improve the access of people to health care and to cut down on the overuse of emergency departments. Urgent care is less expensive and more convenient.

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