After seeing hospital occupancy increases almost to capacity, the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics reevaluated its growth and has hired Timothy Kan to be the first Chief Growth Officer to manage the demand for services.
The growth officer will help determine what program capabilities UIHC can build upon internally and throughout Iowa, UIHC CEO Suresh Gunasekaran said.
Kan will be responsible for business and financial planning around the growth programs and conducting marketing and community analysis to determine what health-care needs are being met, Gunasekaran said.
Kan will also work with clinical leadership, the governmental affairs department, and the marketing department to make sure growth efforts are collaborative, he said.
“We’re actually in the midst of some pretty unprecedented growth,” Gunasekaran said. “We are busier now than we have ever been in our history. Most days, we’re over 90 percent occupancy within our hospitals, and I think this requires us to think about growth differently.”
UIHC sees the opportunity to base its growth on what is needed in the community and make sure the latest services offered nationally are offered in Iowa, he said.
Kan has worked in business and management side of the health-care industry for 20 years. He describes the work he does as having two aspects — a strong sense of community and working collaboratively, Kan said.
“[UIHC] is very, very aligned with being able to grow and improve quality and do all those things in the context of a strong mission for serving,” Kan said.
Along with coming from a health-care management background, Kan had a data driven, analytical approach to creating a growth strategy for UIHC, UIHC Chief Financial Officer Bradley Haws said. Administrators at UIHC felt this approach matched well with its goals and skills, he added.
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“When we look at that growth, I think what we really felt like is we needed to take a more strategic look at the services that we’re talking about, the locations that we want to provide the services [at], and how we can do that in a more formalized and strategic way,” Haws said.
With people across Iowa and surrounding states coming to UIHC for care, the hospital needed to figure out how to accommodate for the increase in demand for services, Haws said.
The increased pressure on UIHC comes from other hospitals discontinuing services due to financial stress, he said.
With people in rural communities in Iowa not having access to the same services offered at UIHC, the use of technology and telehealth would allow them to reach out to those areas, Kan said.
Part of the growth officer job will be to evaluate where there are opportunities to use telehealth resources and what communities need it, he said.
“It’s really rare when you’re presented with an opportunity like this to join a leadership team that is so excited essentially about the potential for being able to bring what honestly is…the best product in the market to a broader number of people,” Kan said.
Alexandra Skores contributed to this article