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How The Saint John’s Bible Fosters a Healing Environment Across 93 Hospitals at Trinity Health System

The not-for-profit healthcare system strategized with Saint John’s and took its first step toward a more integrated healthcare experience

Posted May 31, 2018 in Healthcare
Trinity Health System and The Saint John's Bible

With 93 hospitals and dozens of nursing homes across 22 states (not including home health and hospice locations), Trinity Health System is driven by a desire to create a “healing environment,” something Philip Boyle, SVP of mission and ethics, says is at the heart of everything the organization does.

“When we have people who are suffering or don’t know how to make meaning of what’s happening to them,” Boyle said, “we need to provide a healing environment that can create it for them so they can enter a new space in the healing process.”

Trinity Health System and The Saint John's Bible
The Trinity Health Systems board room art display area features an interactive touch screen with illuminations.

Providing high-quality healthcare and employing a staff that’s passionate about healing are, without question, the most tactical ways Trinity Health creates that environment. But from a corporate standpoint, supporting that goal means finding new ways to enhance patients’ experiences with Trinity Health.

That’s what drove Trinity leadership to the Catholic Health Association’s annual Assembly, where they would learn more about how The Saint John’s Bible is used in healthcare. What they found was that the Heritage Edition, whether used in a religious context or as an inspiring art piece, has the power to help patients find the “new space” the health system had been looking for.

One Message Reaching Millions

“The Bible itself convinces people,” Boyle said. “The beauty of it, the history of it – that’s what strikes people of every faith. No matter what people believe, or if they never believe, people understand beauty – and that beauty draws them in.”

Nancy Hollingsworth – The Saint John's Bible
Nancy Hollingsworth, President and CEO of Saint Agnes Medical Center, with the hospital’s Heritage Edition display. SAMC was the first Trinity Health Systems location to own the Heritage Edition.

Having previously seen the Heritage Edition at Saint Agnes Medical Center of Fresno, California (the first Heritage Edition owner under the Trinity umbrella), Boyle began to “socialize” the idea of bringing The Saint John’s Bible to more of Trinity’s communities. Year-long hosting programs followed at various Trinity Health hospitals across the country, including Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, with more displays planned.

After governance conferences, mission discernments and a fortuitous meeting with a finance supervisor who’d already framed a print from The Saint John’s Bible on the wall of her office, Boyle and team facilitated the purchase of a Heritage Edition set for Trinity’s corporate use. A 22-member team visited Saint John’s University to absorb the history and practices of The Saint John’s Bible, creating knowledgeable ambassadors for the Heritage Edition now owned by Trinity Health System.

“No matter what people believe, or if they never believe, people understand beauty”Philip Boyle, SVP Mission & Ethics, Trinity Health System

With a steering committee and some 60 mission leaders, that copy of the Heritage Edition travels to various locations within the Trinity Health community.

“There’s so much innovation around this project,” Boyle said of Trinity Health’s programming with the Heritage Edition. From the high-level to the hands-on, no utility seems beyond the scope of Trinity’s plan – and wrangling the ideas quickly became a process in itself.

A Playbook for Managing Big Ideas

Alongside the steering committee and members of the Mission Integration System team, Director of Mission Services and Catholic Identity Kelly Herron helped create a “playbook” for sharing the Heritage Edition. It’s a detailed, thorough work that accounts for nearly every contingency and variable that can come with sharing a work of art like The Saint John’s Bible.

Through the playbook, teams at each location determine the most effective ways it can be integrated into their communities. “We’re a big system,” Boyle said. “Not all of our 60 mission leaders are similarly situated. You can’t say, ‘Here’s the Bible, go do something nice with it.’ That doesn’t work when you’ve got something so rare and full of potential. We’re being very methodical.”

Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, a Trinity Health System hospital in Boise, ID, displays its Heritage Edition alongside high-quality illumination reproductions.

The “living document” contains messaging guidelines, programming engagement strategies and more – down to the logistics of transportation and care of The Saint John’s Bible. Celebrations for a community’s first day as a host, for example, are a must-have. So is ecumenical programming to reach people outside Trinity Health’s own Catholic faith tradition. The more methods for getting The Saint John’s Bible in front of patients and colleagues, the better.

Or as Boyle simplified: “Don’t let it sit.”

The playbook, the mission and a passion for healing brought simplicity to a complex process. As a not-for-profit healthcare provider with a philanthropic mission, Boyle said, “[Trinity Health] has to plan everything to make sure that it gets it right from strategy down to implementation.

“We looked at our mission statement – ‘We, Trinity Health, serve together in the spirit of the Gospel as a compassionate and transforming healing presence within our communities’ – and got serious about understanding where mission played in that statement. The Saint John’s Bible is, in my estimation, the first installment of us being serious about how Trinity Health approaches creating the healing environment.”