Q. What first drew you to a career in healthcare?
What drew me to healthcare is a bit of a long story. I became fascinated with the excitement of a hospital. My first experience being in a hospital, other than a patient, was as an employee - a housekeeper actually. I just was always impressed with how important what was happening around me appeared to be and I wanted to be a part of it. That's really what started the process for me.
Q. Do you feel like you can be more innovative as a community hospital?
I believe that in institutions the size of Saratoga Hospital, we can move a little faster. I think we can be more responsive to identified needs. Our chain of command is fairly flat. We work closely with our board and decision makers between middle management, executive and board. So in the course of 30 days we're able to convene all the right decision makers in a very short period of time, analyze inputs, data and get to the right decision quickly. I see us as being nimble and able to move more quickly around certain decisions.
Q. How has healthcare innovation altered the ability to accurately diagnose patients?
The ability to diagnose has improved beyond what I thought it would have ever been. I remember the first CT scanner, the images were so blurred and foggy that someone had to tell you what you were looking at. Precision diagnostics has led to more accurate and timely treatments; surgical interventions have changed so much, where all cases were open cases now fewer and fewer cases are open. Robotic surgery would have sounded like fiction 20 years ago, now most institutions have a surgical robot or plan to get a surgical robot.
Q. Why did you choose to automate the mews/early warning scoring protocol here in Saratoga?
Our decision to move ahead with the early warning detection program was a part of really a larger context for Saratoga Hospital. As more and more people have moved to this region from parts of the country and parts of the world, we've continually tried to raise our game, to become a much more sophisticated organization. The expectations of our patients, our growing patient population have really caused us to invest heavily in hiring services, hiring physicians, and those caregivers want to assure we're taking the very best care of their patients. We're putting them in the safest environment that's expected by our physicians and it's expected by our patients. This was a piece of creating a much safer, higher quality environment for our community.
Q. How important is prevention for Saratoga Hospital?
Hospitals had traditionally been a great place for medical care and medical intervention but now we're expected to be healthcare organizations, which is a little bit different than providing acute intervention care at a hospital level. It's requiring us to be good at primary care, community based services, and community based diagnostics.
Again, to be successful in this new world of how we're being paid, we're going to have to be good at those things.
Again, years ago we only had to be good at taking care of a patient that ended up in our building. Now we have to be effective in taking care of a patient in the community, assuring that, if they have a chronic disease it's well managed, if they're healthy, we help them stay healthy. That creates the need for a lot of different touch points and a lot of different services available outside of our building. Again, that's not easily done without a well-connected data system and free sharing information.
Q. How does healthcare technology support this continuum from the hospital to the home?
They have to be aware of how the patient has come in to all those points of service, the diagnostics they've received, the treatments they've received, so that as they end up potentially inside of the hospital environment, all that information is available to the caregiver. That can't be done without a technological solution, we simply wouldn't have enough people to trade that information, create all those touchpoints, and assure that information was shared across the entire patient care experience.