From the C-Suite: Betsy Postlethwait, President, Princeton Baptist Medical Center
Q: What brought you to Princeton Baptist Medical Center?
A: I came to Baptist Health System and Princeton in 2004, shortly after I relocated to Birmingham from Houston, TX. I joined the system at a time of great change in the organization and felt that my skills as a health care executive could contribute to Baptist’s faith-based mission and vision for the future. I was particularly drawn to Princeton as the founding hospital for Baptist Health System, which began in 1922, and its continued commitment to the West End community.
Q: You mention that Princeton began as a faith-based ministry of healing. How has that shaped its culture?
A: I think “culture” is the key word. The cornerstone of who we are is our faith-based mission, which truly pervades everything we do. Princeton has a culture of compassionate care, and we take every opportunity to bring that faith into the healing environment for our patients and their families — and for our staff and physicians as well. Our culture is also one of clinical excellence. Again, it’s that compassionate, faith-based care that drives us to want to provide clinical excellence.
Our culture is very patient-centered. It’s reflected in our Patient Promise and the Baptist Experience. It’s recognized by our staff and demonstrated by their professionalism. We’re very proud of our team members and the professional excellence they display each day.
As we transition from the older, more traditional health care delivery model to a new, patient-centered one, we are seeing improvements in coordination for the patient’s continuum of care from pre-hospital care to post-hospital care. It’s a better way to keep patients healthy. The focus is on wellness, good health and caring for patients in a more holistic way.
Q: As Princeton Baptist Medical Center celebrates its 90th birthday, what excites you about the future?
A: I believe the future is bright for Princeton. Health care organizations are in a challenging era of health care reform as we try to move from a fee-for-service based environment to an environment of bundled payment and value-based purchasing. The focus is clearly on providing the highest quality care to our patients at a lower cost. Fortunately, Princeton is prepared to do that. We are a very efficient organization, and we will continue to look at ways to build on that efficiency.
This year, we developed our Lean Innovation Council. The goal is for every staff member to look at processes in their department in a different way and identify ways to be more efficient, get rid of waste and provide excellent quality care based on what is valuable to our patients and families.
We’ve worked diligently on our Baptist Experience and our Patient Promise. I’m encouraged because the Princeton staff has really been engaged with that. We get letters from families that are so heartwarming. People truly sense the difference the Baptist Experience offers. “I’m here for you” is not just a phrase that everybody says; it’s something that comes from the heart of our employees. Their compassion and sincerity really speak to our patients and their families — it is speaking heart to heart; it’s genuine; and it’s making a difference. Anyone who comes to our campus can tangibly feel that difference, and that’s very exciting to me.
Q: What are your top three initiatives for the hospital in the coming year?
A: Within the next year, we will move into our newly constructed east expansion, which includes new operating rooms, new gastroenterology suites, new classroom space and a complete renovation of the space being vacated. This $57 million expansion will change the face of our facility and provide exceptional, cleared space to care for our patients. Also, we will complete the rollout of our electronic health record with the Epic system to improve the overall quality and safety of care for our patients. Our third top initiative is to continue our clinical integration journey with our physician-led, physician-driven organization, the Baptist Physician Alliance.
Q: What are your top strategic priorities over the next two to five years?
A: Like all health care providers, we face many strategic imperatives for the next five years as we navigate health care reform. At Princeton, we will be focused on managing our cost of care, improving our clinical outcomes, ensuring the care we provide is coordinated across the health care continuum, and continuing to work with our patients and their families so that they are empowered to take great ownership in their health care.