A Publication of WTVP

“How do you fix everything?” asks Barbara Carter, strategic marketing director for OSF Innovation, in this issue’s feature article. The question is only slightly rhetorical, as the challenges of healthcare today indeed can feel overwhelming. With a rapidly aging population and ever-increasing costs, there seems no end in sight to the problems that must be solved.

Recognizing the need to think big, OSF HealthCare formalized its innovation agenda in 2016—a multidisciplinary effort to infuse innovation throughout the organization. It’s a collaborative program combining internal transformation with external partnerships to break the so-called “silo mentality” and instill a more integrated approach to patient care. It’s an investment in the future.

Last month, OSF announced plans to develop its new ministry headquarters in downtown Peoria, rehabilitating the former Chase building and the rest of that very important block in the heart of the city. This is a fantastic development for the downtown and our region at large—and a key reflection of the continued growth of the healthcare industry.

According to research from the Federal Reserve Economic Data, healthcare surpassed both manufacturing and retail as the largest employment sector in the United States in 2017. Here in Greater Peoria, where manufacturing had long been the region’s top industry, healthcare surpassed it some time ago.

With two major healthcare networks, multiple hospitals and cancer centers, St. Jude, Jump Simulation, the College of Medicine and other major institutions, it is often said that our region could become a “Mayo of the Midwest,” referring to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota—widely regarded as the finest medical practice and research group in the country.

I recently visited Mayo and experienced it firsthand. Not only did I see world-class facilities, amenities, physicians, nurses and medical staff, I also witnessed the spillover effect onto the larger economy: the flourishing of shops, hotels, restaurants and more. I couldn’t help but reflect on the importance of the healthcare community to our own region—and the greater possibilities to come as we continue to build on this strong foundation. The dream of Peoria becoming a Mayo-like community is no illusion. The need to fix “everything” brings endless opportunities.

A friend reminds me of a timeless proverb: that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Thanks to the leadership of OSF HealthCare and UnityPoint Health, our elected officials and city planners, donors and philanthropists, the business community and many others, we have already begun the journey… and I look forward to what comes next. iBi