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Case Study

Partnering with Lancaster General Health to Improve Community Health through Intentional Purchasing

The Big Idea

Penn Medicine is really going places!

In a changing business landscape, leading businesses and other organizations are striving to enhance their positive impact, to integrate their values into everything they do, and to live their missions in innovative new ways. Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health (LG Health) is one of these leaders, and ASSETS is a local expert on enhancing the impact of organizations by drawing on their values, adapting to relevant trends, and creating successful strategies. 

LG Health’s mission is to advance the health and well-being of the communities it serves. To achieve that mission, LG Health goes beyond illness treatment alone to address the social, economic, and environmental factors that significantly impact health outcomes. These factors are known as the “social determinants of health,” which include education, job quality, geography, income, transportation, and more.

Upwards of 80% of a person’s health is impacted by social, economic, and environmental factors.

The Opportunity

Leveraging its operations

For years, LG Health has worked to improve community health and has increasingly focused on the social determinants of health. Through conversations with ASSETS, LG Health realized it had an opportunity to address the social determinants of health not only by providing services and support to the community but also by leveraging its operations to positively impact the community.

LG Health did not have the internal function or available capacity to develop an understanding of the social impact of its purchasing, so the health network contracted ASSETS to study how it could improve the social determinants of health is through its purchasing.

The Role of ASSETS

Analyzing & Improving

The first step of this project was to conduct an analysis of the social impact generated through LG Health’s purchasing, focusing specifically on the geography, diversity, and social impact of its vendors. ASSETS produced a formal, comprehensive report articulating the findings of this analysis and provided recommendations to improve the impact of LG Health’s purchasing, balancing cost competitiveness and impact.

Once this analysis was complete, ASSETS began efforts with LG Health to improve the social impact of their local purchasing. First, we worked with specific LG Health vendors to measure and improve their impact on their employees, communities, and the environment. Second, we identified new local, diverse, and ethical vendors for LG Health. 

ASSETS then facilitated a conversation with LG Health’s leadership to debrief the findings, gain support for the concept of intentional purchasing, and collaboratively determine the next steps.

The Success

A commitment to intentional purchasing

Equipped with an understanding of the current impact of its purchasing and a vision for how it can improve the impact of its purchasing, LG Health is ready to promote its commitment to an intentional purchasing approach.

Through its engagement with ASSETS, LG Health has committed to working with local, ethical, and diverse businesses located in the communities we serve in order to build local wealth, economic inclusion, and community health.

Alice Yoder, Director of Community Health Improvement at LG Health, shares the result of working with ASSETS:

We’re in the process now of establishing a more intentional approach to procurement so that everyone throughout the health system has the knowledge and tools needed to evaluate their purchases and vendor relationships through local, ethical, and diverse lenses. We want to do all we can to leverage our supply chain to help build local wealth and ultimately impact local health, and we hope it will inspire other local businesses and institutions to do the same.

And in fact, LG Health has inspired other businesses and institutions to leverage their purchasing power to strengthen the community.

Plus, LG Health has received media attention for expressing and acting upon its commitment to improving community health in an innovative, visionary new way.

Next steps

What can we do for you?

Are you interested in aligning your mission and values with your operations, or learning more about how you can have a greater impact through what you do? Contact us to see how we can help!