4 Keys to Main Line Health’s Quality and Equity Success

4 Keys to Main Line Health’s Quality and Equity Success. The Main Line Health team that won the AHA's 2023 Quest for Quality Prize.

As the winner of the AHA’s 2023 Quest for Quality Prize,® Main Line Health has taken transparency and innovation to new heights over the past 12 years in its commitment to continuous improvement in safety, quality and equity.

The not-for-profit health system serving Philadelphia and its western suburbs is a model of consistency in working with its community to address inequities in care.

4 Keys to Main Line Health’s Success

1 | Dedication Starts at the Top

Main Line Health’s annual Healthcare Disparities Colloquium is designed to expose inequities within the health system and community. And, fitting with Main Line Health’s culture, the system’s top leaders regularly attend the program.

“Our senior leadership is there, the whole community is invited and it’s recorded so all our employees and medical staff can see,” says Jonathan Stallkamp, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer. “It shows that dedication to equity starts at the top.”

The system’s focus on equity starts with a board-level committee that oversees system-level diversity, respect, equity and inclusion (DREI) workgroups addressing vendor relations, talent management and other issues. This systematic approach to improvement is embedded in Main Line Health’s safety culture, patient experience and DREI.

2 | Analytics Drives Success

A systemwide dashboard monitors Safe, Timely, Effective, Efficient, Equitable, Patient-centered (STEEEP) metrics, and annual team goals are aligned to the STEEEP domains.

That environment is supported by clinical environment workgroups that represent surgical services, behavioral health, inpatient/critical care and others across the health system. Each of Main Line Health’s four hospitals has a physician leader and nurse leader who are jointly responsible for the care delivered in a specific clinical area, and they report to a system-level physician/nurse dyad.

3 | Behavioral Health Is a Priority

The system’s focus on community needs led to its decision to expand its inpatient behavioral health unit to 40 beds in 2022. It also added more social workers focused on behavioral health in its primary care practices.

Part of a $35 million investment, the 44,000-square-foot unit seeks to address a behavioral health crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which increased behavioral health-related visits to area emergency departments.

“We are delivering on our promise to our families that they will be seen when they walk through our doors,” says Jack Lynch III, president and CEO. “The investment we’re making in behavioral health is significant and underscores our belief that health care is human care.”

4 | Community Partnerships Move the Needle on Health Equity

Health equity is a top priority at Main Line Health and the system aims to identify nonmedical barriers that may impact patient health. Patients go through universal screening for social needs such as access to food, safe and stable housing and transportation.

Community partnerships are key to the health system’s strategy. Among other initiatives, the health system has been collaborating with Greener Partners, a local nonprofit, to operate Deaver Wellness Farm on its Lankenau Medical Center campus since 2016. Produce from the organic farm is available to patients, visitors and employees at a year-round farmers market. Food from the farm also is used to combat food insecurity in vulnerable patients, including those who need home food delivery.

Main Line Health, along with other health care systems and community organizations, founded Together for West Philadelphia, a nonprofit working to improve health equity in West Philadelphia, a low-income, underresourced part of the city.

Want to Learn More? Read more about Main Line Health and Citation of Merit winners Atlantic Health System and University of Chicago Medicine. Applications for the 2024 Quest for Quality prize are being accepted through Sept. 12. Apply now.


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