Winjie Tang Miao, president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance, was recognized in Becker’s Hospital Review as one of its 2012 “25 Healthcare Leaders Under Age 40.” In 2008, she was honored as one of Modern Healthcare‘s “Up and Comers.”
Prior to her role with Texas Health Alliance, Miao served as the president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle. Under her leadership, the hospital expanded services and received national recognition for its quality and community-health efforts.
Miao began her career in healthcare administration as an administrative resident at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas in 2000. While serving as administrative director there, Miao led planning and implementation of the hospital’s acute care expansion, a $207 million renovation project. In addition, she optimized eight ambulatory clinics and developed breast health and other cancer-related programs.
Miao received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
D Healthcare Daily: Why did you make the switch from biomedical engineering to healthcare admin at UNC?
Winjie Tang Miao: When I started college, I wanted to go to medical school. Then I got a summer job at the School of Public Health. It became my passion. The engineering way of thinking has helped me in healthcare. That groundwork has served me very well.
DHD: How was healthcare in Azle compared with Presbyterian Hospital Dallas?
Miao: Azle and Dallas are microcosms of America. Dallas is fast-paced, with an emphasis on advancement and technology. In Azle, I never met a community that supports its hospital more. The personalized care there is second to none. If you run into a patient at Wal-Mart on a Saturday night, that’s personal. In Azle, they know who they are and what they are good at. But the quality of care is the same at both places.
DHD What were the most challenging aspects to planning the Alliance hospital?
Miao: For me, there were three challenges. First, making sure our $100 million investment will be relevant 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now. Second, making sure we are giving the community the health care it deserves and meeting expectations from an amenity, quality and care coordination standpoint. Third, that we pushed the envelope, knowing that healthcare is change but we are not sure where it’s going. We want to push, but not fall off the cliff.
DHD: Has Convenient Care Alliance occupational health clinic been successful financially?
Miao: We are bringing care to employers and patients, and deepening partnerships in the community. There are 250+ employers and 30,000 employees (in the Alliance area). We want to do what makes sense for them. For FedEx, we brought trainers onsite to talk about on-the-job injuries. We are going beyond employee health and moving toward prevention and what drives benefit cost. The clinic is on trajectory to be self-sustaining financially.
DHD: You began planning the new hospital in August 2009. How much did health reform and delivery reform play into its design?
Miao: A large part of reform was being hotly debated at that time. We didn’t know what was coming. We knew it would involve coordinated care, using technology to expand human capacity and extending healthcare beyond the walls of the hospital. We kept that in mind when we were building the facility.
DHD: Explain how you included clinicians in the planning.
Miao: We knew that we had to have input from frontline caregivers who take care of patients. We sent an email to our hospital employees and asked who would like to be involved. We received 100 applications and picked 16 individuals, including doctors and people from 10 THR facilities. We went to Home Depot and talked to shoppers about what they wanted in a hospital. We talked to homeowner associations. We asked them to tell us about their needs. We traveled to facilities nationwide to find best practices and how best to meet those needs. We brought those back here.
DHD: Of all the community input you received, what surprised you the most?
Miao: It just reinforced the importance of technology and the coordination of care. A lot of people don’t understand that doctors are not hospital employees. They made it loud and clear that we needed to work with doctors to make care seamless. Because of (congested north Fort Worth) traffic, we had a woman nearby go into labor at 4:45 p.m. She had to be careflighted to deliver the baby. We clearly can do better for our patients (by having this local hospital).
DHD: Explain the advantages of having real-time locating system technology that tracks patients and equipment.
Miao: It is designed to give better patient care and a better patient experience. From a patient and caregiver standpoint, they can always know where the patient is and be able to communicate. It also gives clinicians another tool. A nurse won’t have to go into five closets to find a clean IV pump. Job satisfaction for her and more time with pt. Better pt. care.
DHD: Where did the ideas for the hospital’s amenities come from, such as refrigerators in some rooms and sunlit caregiver break areas?
Miao: Those came from our best-practice research. As my mother used to say, if you’re not smart enough to come up with an idea, be smart enough to steal a good one. I can walk through the hospital and tell you where every idea came from.
DHD: Is this THR’s first physician-led hospital council? Why is that important?
Miao: It is (THR’s) first whole hospital led by physicians. We have done it at a service-line level. Whole. It is important that doctors be at the decision-making level. Shared decision-making is different than asking for their input. We want them to have as much pride and ownership in the hospital as they do in their private practices.