The American Hospital Association is constantly improving to better serve our members: America’s hospitals, health systems and providers of care. That’s why, in January, we unveiled our 2017–2020 Strategic Plan to guide our organization going forward. This new, streamlined plan is the result of significant deliberation, study and hard work by AHA’s board of trustees, councils, committees and staff, after much input and guidance from our membership. We heard from you and responded with a plan that is designed to provide a quick overview of the forces influencing the field, our shared commitments and a road map for getting there during this time of transformation.

The only constant in health care is change. Cutting-edge technologies, medical discoveries and new management processes are improving the care hospitals and health systems provide every day. Hospitals everywhere are learning to redefine the “H” — changing to better serve their patients’ needs and evolving beyond the traditional four walls to offer new services and improve communication and engagement with patients. At the same time, changes in the political environment and the direction of public policy could have a significant impact on our field. This strategic plan takes this rapid transformation into account.

Just as our members are undergoing change, so is the AHA. You can think of it as redefining the “A” in association. We will continue to advocate strategically in our nation’s capital for our members, share best practices in our field, foster dialogue on health care and health policy, and much more. Most importantly of all, we will work side by side with our members as each hospital, health system or provider of care pursues its own path to excellence.

While our modern world may be changing rapidly, one thing will always stay the same — the AHA’s commitment to our vision and key principles. We seek a society of healthy communities where all individuals can reach their highest potential for health. And to get there, we will continue to work to promote the transformation of health care, ensure access to coverage, preserve adequate resources for health care, protect patient access to care, enhance the quality of care and patient safety, and make health care more affordable.

That’s why we created this strategic plan. It will help us to help others — the patients and communities we all serve. These efforts will happen every day, a little bit at a time, in hospitals across our country. Working together, we are advancing health in America. 

Maryjane Wurth is executive vice president and chief operating officer, American Hospital Association; president and CEO, Health Forum.