A Passion for the Patient Experience

HealthEast president/CEO Kathryn Correia of Woodbury shares her outlook on the changing health care landscape.

Kathryn Correia, president and CEO of HealthEast since 2012, oversees 7,500 employees at four hospitals and 14 primary care clinics. Correia previously served as president of Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center, following a stint in ambulatory care and clinic operations at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Penn. We sat down with Correia, an Ohio native and current Woodbury resident, to discuss some health care topics.

Since joining HealthEast in 2012, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
When I think about HealthEast, one of the things that has been amazing to me is that with all of the change in health care and the changes HealthEast has made in response, our employees—particularly our nurses—retain that passion and commitment to the patient. People at HealthEast are so compassionate, and I would say that’s very special.

We’ve also put in place our mission, vision and core values, as well as ongoing Value-Based Improvement (VBI) work to see what’s getting in the way with front line staff and teams. VBI challenges staff to see opportunities where there are challenges, asking themselves ‘is there a better way we can do this?’ in order to make improvements that will positively impact the patient experience. We have generated over 100,000 ideas, and action has been taken on all of them.

What work still needs to be done, in health care’s ever-changing environment?

The world is changing. When we look at how we create value, what the customer wants—that evolves for sure. But the system we have is solid, so if you keep improving the system, you don’t have to change it out. How we approach our work within the community is a good example. We reach out to those neighborhoods and communities where our clinics are located and then we listen; they know where and what the needs are. From there, we're able to develop collaborations such as the East Side Health and Well-being Collaborative with St. Paul’s East Side and the Woodbury Thrives grassroots initiative to create a healthy place to live in our community. Keeping patients and communities at the center of everything we do is foundational to our obligation as a health care provider.

What are your thoughts about our local health care environment?
Woodbury offers the proximity to a larger metropolitan area but really has the coziness and accessibility of a city of 100,000 residents. Everything is here for health care, including specialty groups. Three health care systems are represented in the city and there’s a lot of cooperation to try to work together. We recently added a clinic on the city’s east side and it’s going great. We are excited about our involvement with Woodbury Thrives, and look forward to continuing and deepening our relationship with the Woodbury community.

What do you enjoy most about living in Woodbury?

Our sons are in college now, so we’re officially empty nesters. After dropping the youngest one off at college, I came into our garage and cried, and then immediately went out for a walk. I appreciate the great trails in Woodbury and all the grocery store and restaurant options as well. I’m a vegetarian, and I especially like India Palace. I enjoy cooking and was so excited when Sur La Table opened. Being in a growing community such as this is fun.