PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — On a sunny Peoria afternoon, OSF executive Mike Wells, Bob Anderson and WMBD’s Tom McIntyre took a walk to look at the next generation of cancer treatment.

When it’s finished, this building will be the new OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute on the campus of OSF Saint Francis medical center.

Wells is tasked with the job of leading OSF Saint Francis Medical Center into a post-COVID future.

“Our biggest challenge coming out of the pandemic is staffing, like almost every industry, we are challenged with not having enough staff,” President OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center Mike Wells said.

So for a year now, OSF Saint Francis officials have been making changes.

“So that meant salary adjustments, sign-on bonuses, retention bonuses, and that really helped us stabilize the workforce,” Wells said.

Medicine is one of the greater Peoria area’s largest employers: 32,000 employed by two hospital systems, a medical school, four nurses’ colleges, several clinics, and independent practitioners. That’s 19 percent of the local workforce.

And because COVID forced some employers and workers to work remotely, OSF HealthCare is moving to further adapt the technology to medicine, “telecare.”

“We need to be attuned to what our patients are interested in, a lot of that has to do with convenient and different ways of receiving care. Because frankly, in many ways, it is a better way to provide care and provides better access,” Wells said.

OSF is moving forward on two fronts, telecare for convenience, and “Destination services” like the cancer institute drawing patients to Peoria from around the Midwest.