Preparing for the future of BJC — 11/5/2018

Author: ROBERT S./Monday, November 05, 2018

Rich Liekweg

BJC | This fall we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of BJC HealthCare. For the past two and a half decades, BJC has advanced the delivery of premier health care services to people in urban centers, suburban neighborhoods and rural communities throughout Missouri and southern Illinois — in hospitals, physician offices, long-term care facilities, outpatient treatment centers, homes, schools and community settings. And as a result, we have become one of the most successful health systems in the country.

What’s exciting to me about this milestone is the opportunity to look forward to our next 25 years together. While we may not know exactly what the future holds — 25 years ago, I’m not sure we would have been able to imagine being tethered to something called a “smartphone” — we do know that we must implement new ways to deliver care.

Looking forward, BJC will put the patient, customer and consumer at the center of all we do, creating a best-in-class consumer experience. And I use the word “consumer” intentionally to include all consumers of health care and health information, in addition to patients who have chosen our physicians and hospitals for their care. With that will come new ways of delivering care, both inside and outside the walls of BJC’s facilities.

We need to envision making access to health care affordable and as easy as it is to find what you’re looking for on Amazon. And, as personalized and simple as it is to make the reservation that Open Table found for you at a restaurant it thinks you’d like based on your past experiences on the app.

Think about what’s now part of our day-to-day life. If we need a ride somewhere, we can tap on our phone and our Uber or Lyft arrives to drive us. If we’re hungry, we can click our DoorDash app and food is delivered from our favorite restaurant. We, as consumers, expect things to be fast, easy and affordable, or we move along to something else. Health care is moving in that direction and BJC must respond, including eliminating the pain points for those who want access to our best medicine and health information.

We’re challenging ourselves to move faster, take appropriate risks, learn from our mistakes, and keep moving forward. And we can’t do any of this without the right people. Retaining and attracting team members remains a key priority across BJC.

I am excited about our future, as I reach way back and quote Abraham Lincoln: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Now is the perfect time. Together, we will create a best-in-class consumer experience and position BJC to continue being the care provider of choice … for the next 25 years, and beyond.

P.S. This column publishes on Nov. 5, so I can’t pass up the opportunity to remind and encourage everyone to vote on Nov. 6. No matter how you vote, be sure to make your voice heard on Nov. 6 by voting.

Rich Liekweg, BJC president and CEO

Email me at and follow me on Twitter @bjc_president.


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