Giving - Office of Development and Alumni Relations

USF Health, Florida Blue leaders discuss innovating health care through collaboration

Elana Schrader MD, Florida Blue Chief Medical Officer, with Carole Post JD, USF Health Deputy COO

USF College of Public Health Dean Donna Petersen, Florida Blue Chief Medical Officer Elana Schrader, and USF Health Deputy Chief Operating Officer Carole Post led a lively discussion on “Transforming the Future of Health: Creative Collaboration for a Healthier Region” at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy (WLP) Fall Symposium at the Hilton Tampa Downtown in October.

“We don’t often think of collaboration as innovation–we typically think of technology as enabling innovation,” Dr. Schrader said. “But the truth is collaboration in its best form is innovative.”

Dr. Schrader recognized the need for hospitals, health plans, physicians and others to come together to enable coordinated, seamless care for patients. Florida Blue has begun creating centers staffed by multidisciplinary health care teams including nurses, physicians, pharmacists and social workers for coordinated and better quality care.

“At USF Health, our colleges of public health, medicine, nursing and pharmacy have worked together in an integrated, collaborative way for over 10 years,” Dr. Petersen said. “Health care shouldn’t be so complicated. It doesn’t have to be that way, and I think we can undo that.”

Carole Post, who also serves as CEO of USF’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), described an example of such collaborative demonstration that required USF medical and physical therapy students to triage, cart and move 40 standardized patients (actors) with broken legs in the CAMLS parking lot a few days earlier.

Dr. Donna J. Petersen, USF College of Public Health

Dr. Petersen explained that while everyone wants to be healthy and have access to the highest quality health care when we need it, 80-90 percent of important health decisions happen outside the health care system. She cited seat belt laws as an example of what can happen when various sectors come together, with support of the public, to create a healthier community.

Members of the audience asked how they should advocate for better health care collaboration, and who should lead the way.

“It starts with us,” said Dr. Petersen. “If it can be dealt with nationally, great, but public health is left to the states per the Constitution. Local communities, and often the private sector, have to work together. It takes us as voters and consumers in the marketplace.”

Florida Blue was the presenting sponsor for the 2017 WLP Fall Symposium, and USF Health also cosponsored the session. Earlier this year, Florida Blue donated $1 million to name the medical library in USF’s new Morsani College of Medicine building now under construction in the emerging Water Street Tampa district.

“The College of Medicine moving downtown will create more space for the USF Health colleges, which are crowded in the current space,” said Post. “This will take care of the aging facilities for the medical school and improve its proximity to TGH, as it’s the only medical school in the country where its teaching hospital is more than a 25-minute drive away.”