MURRAY — Scientists, doctors and hospital administrators are expected to come from all over to learn and share the latest medical techniques and best practices at the new Intermountain Healthcare Kem C. Gardner Transformation Center.
It aims to transform the ways health care is provided across the United States and globally.
"This building is not only beautiful, it's inspiring," Dr. Charles Sorenson, former president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare and founding director of the Intermountain Healthcare Leadership Institute, said Wednesday. He said changes need to happen on the front lines of health care, where clinicians interact with the patient, focusing on "preventing serious illness and injury in the first place."
Sorenson, the mastermind behind the center of transformation, said training offered there will be more about character and moral force than strategic insights.
"The good news is that values-based leadership can be taught," he said.
The first group of "visionaries," as Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison calls them, is set to arrive Oct. 15.
"I want to say the opportunity is great, but in some ways the obligation is even greater," he said, reflecting on Intermountain's roots, as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gifted its hospitals in 1975 with one charge — "to create a model health care system."
"I feel like I'm standing in a place where the future is going to be created," Harrison said. "I'm confident we're going to make a big difference here."
The Transformation Center, where leaders in health care will collaborate and be trained to develop and deliver the highest clinical quality at the lowest sustainable cost, was made possible with a $20 million donation from local philanthropist and chairman of the Intermountain Foundation Board, Kem C. Gardner. It was designed by innovative global architecture firm, NBBJ, whose work includes numerous medical facilities and other structures around the world.
"I particularly like making contributions to Intermountain with the hope they'll keep me alive to fulfill them," Gardner joked. He said he was grateful to be a part of the "momentous undertaking," to "accelerate what's possible."
Gardner, who recited poetry and biblical verse as sources of his own inspiration, said he and his wife, Carolyn, saw the need and believed "patients shouldn't have to pay for the facility," a catalyst to transform health care.
Mitt Romney, a U.S. Senate candidate and longtime friend of Gardner who spoke at the center's grand opening on Wednesday, said it is important for clinicians to share what they know to improve the life and health of communities. He witnessed the impact of best practices in health care during his career in consulting.
Intermountain Healthcare, which offers high-quality care at low cost, Romney said, is continually ranked in the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide.
He said Gardner's generous penchant for spreading knowledge led to the Intermountain center "for learning and advancement and technology … and the learning will continue," Romney said. "It will go on for generations."
In addition to the Healthcare Leadership Institute, the four-story, 120,000 square-foot Healthcare Transformation Center houses the first physical location — just north of the Intermountain Medical Center campus — of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives' innovation center, a Leadership Simulation Center, space for clinical programs, and the already up-and-running collaborative Healthcare Delivery Institute, which has brought thousands of doctors, nurses and others to attend courses revolving around the transition to value-based health care.2 comments on this story
Harrison said more than 40 percent of the care provided at Intermountain facilities is now prepaid.
"We are finally incentivized to keep people well," he added. "Because, in the end, health care is a people business. It is an opportunity, an obligation, an honor and a privilege to touch people in some of their times of greatest need."
The new Transformation Center, Harrison said, is perfectly poised to fulfill Intermountain's mission — "helping people live the healthiest lives possible."
"This is a great day. For now and into the future," he said.