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Ochsner Health System: Integrating Innovation to Help People Live Healthier & Productive Lives

Warner Thomas | President and CEO | Ochsner Health System | Insights Care

Healthcare across the United States continues to experience monumental change. Providers face enormous pressure to accommodate this change, from the restructuring of payment models to the upward trend of healthcare consumerism. Any time change is enforced, it has some type of impact. There are those who see it as a positive and others who will see it as a negative. Ochsner Health System prefers to view these as opportunities. Headquartered in New Orleans with centers across Louisiana, it is a national destination for care.

The Ochsner name honors its Founder, Alton Ochsner, MD. Throughout 1940, the partners informally discussed a name but never came to a decision. In March 1941, the other four partners (Caldwell, Burns, LeJeune, and Tyrone) made a unilateral decision. They elected to call the new venture “Ochsner Clinic” in honor of the man who recruited them. Alton Ochsner was at a conference in Ogden, Utah, when he received a telegram from his partners stating, “Junior was born tonight and named for Papa.”

The Visionary Leader of Ochsner

Ochsner is led by the President and CEO, Warner Thomas – a leader with a strategic vision. He exemplifies courage in a time of change to ensure that the organization positively embraces disruption and continues to move in the right direction that is best for its patients.

The Notable Milestones in Ochsner’s Journey

In 1942, Dr. Alton Ochsner and his four colleagues founded the Ochsner Clinic, fundamentally changing how medicine was delivered. It was an accomplishment driven by their desire to provide patient-centered care and their commitment to the belief that as a group practice, they could deliver better care to their community.

Speaking of the challenges that Ochsner has faced, Thomas says, “Surviving Hurricane Katrina nearly 14 years ago was a challenging time for our region and yet evidence of our ability to come together and demonstrate incredible resilience, tremendous courage and compassion.” At the time, it was a single-hospital system and took bold steps to repair and grow the healthcare industry to meet the city’s needs and to participate in the rebirth and revitalization of New Orleans.

Today, Ochsner is shaping the future of healthcare through its leading clinical programs, medical education, clinical research studies, strong care networks and access to care. These steps, to reach this point were a critical part for Ochsner and New Orleans, and have enabled it to become a national and global destination for care for the greater Gulf South region and beyond. Since then, the hospital has experienced significant growth, expanding its reach to provide care to more people throughout the Gulf South.

Ochsner has a rich history of investing in education and workforce development. Through its partnerships with various Universities, the hospital is redefining what the future of healthcare looks like in this region and is committed to developing a new pipeline of talent.

The Prominent Services & Uniqueness

At Ochsner, the team has a strong vision and clear strategy. Last year, Ochsner treated patients from all 50 states in the U.S., and 72 countries from around the world. It is a true national and global destination center that offers specialty care services, such as cancer care, neurologic, pediatric and cardiac care and organ transplants. The organization has created a culture of wellness, shifting away from the traditional way of delivering episodic care and towards managing populations as a whole – before, during, and after a patient presents in a healthcare facility.

Ochsner’s core is its group practice. With more than 1,300 employed physicians, it is really a part of the core that makes Ochsner different. Another area that sets it apart from its competitors is its sturdy team. Over the past decade, Ochsner made a significant investment in leadership development for its physicians and administrative leaders. The hospital possesses the ability to innovate and take risks in this ever-changing climate, which also provides a competitive advantage. “We are relentless about getting better and that’s driven by the people and team here at Ochsner,” says the CEO.

Awards and recognitions

Ochsner has received numerous accolades throughout its journey towards becoming a world-class hospital. To name a few it was Ranked #1 in Louisiana for 2018-19 by U.S. News & World Report, received the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Davies Award 2018, National Research Corporation (NRC) Health 2017-2018 Top 100 Consumer Loyalty list, 2018 Top Hospital for Diversity by, and stood among the Forbes Best Employers for New Grads list.

Relentless Contributions in the Development of Healthcare

Ochsner is a national leader in implementing technology, data, and new thinking to improve the delivery and experience of healthcare.  It created innovationOchsner (iO), an innovation lab which concentrates on solving some of the most pressing healthcare challenges. In the last few years, iO has designed interventions and digital medicine programs that focus on improving the outcomes of our patients. Speaking about iO, Thomas quotes/delivers, “We have taken on chronic disease – including hypertension and diabetes. For example, with more than 4,000 patients enrolled in our Hypertension Digital Medicine Program, blood pressure was successfully controlled in 71 percent of previously uncontrolled patients within the first 90 days including demonstrated improvements in diet, patient engagement and satisfaction.”

To further improve, the hospital has harnessed the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict and prevent adverse events in the hospital in real-time, notably becoming one of the first health systems in the world to use this type of technology. It has also developed innovative ways to improve hospital care through its Optimal Hospital initiative. This initiative uses new technology, science and work flows to not only improve outcomes, but also improve the hospital experience for patients.

Future Goals of the company

Discussing the future of the hospital Thomas says, “Ochsner will continue to proactively engage our patients around wellness and prevention through successful digital connection as healthcare becomes more virtual. The shift from reactive to proactive and later to predictive care will be the standard model of care and key to improving population health.” He continues, “Ochsner will continue to expand services and solutions to improve care and utilize the most advanced tools and technology so patients can have coordinated access to specialized care.”



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