Doctors Hospital of Sarasota: Robert C. Meade, CEO

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Doctors Hospital of Sarasota is making a name for itself serving the west coast of Florida. As a 168-bed acute and general care facility, Doctors Hospital serves Sarasota and Manatee counties.Doctors Hospital excels in many specialties, including orthopedic , spine, cardiovascular, general surgery and pulmonary.  Cutting edge diagnostic imaging also includes a new comprehensive Breast Care Center on the campus.  The hospital’s orthopedic and spine unit recently received the 2010 HealthGrades ® Award for being in the top five percent in the nation for spine surgery, the top five percent in the nation for orthopedic services and number one in Florida for overall orthopedic services.

Doctors Hospital is taking several innovative steps to create an environmental that is accessible and accommodating to patients, employees and physicians. Doctors Hospital also continues to prove that patients are more than a number. Not only are typical emergency department wait  times less than 23 minutes to see a qualified medical professional, current times are broadcast on billboards, the web site and by text from a cell phone.

Affiliated with Hospital Corporations of America (HCA), Doctors Hospital employs 640 individuals with a medical staff of 395 physicians. Robert C. Meade is the Chief Executive Officer at Doctors Hospital. He is especially proud of the more efficient and proficient use of the hospital’s operating rooms. Meade has been in his current leadership role for nearly five years and has been with HCA for 26 years, having spent the last two decades working in the Florida market.

Understanding the community

Sarasota, Florida is a large community and the hospital serves some 350,000 residents. There are four hospitals in the county and Doctors Hospital competes with a large, well- funded, 800-bed  public hospital. To stay competitive, Meade says it’s critical to pay attention to two aspects of care. ”

Equally important, understanding your market demographics and what services you have the opportunity to provide is key.” Meade adds the second focus should be providing service excellence to our patients, employees and physicians. “We strive to be in the 90 percentile in satisfaction surveys with all of those groups. “This emphasis appears to be paying off as Doctors Hospital was named the number one hospital in the top 100 best places to work in health care by Modern Healthcare magazine.

Investing in the future

Meade says part of the hospital’s capital investment plan involves IT improvements. Following a successful pilot in the ER, Doctors Hospital is rolling out the electronic  medical records  throughout the entire hospital, to enable physicians to easily access  direct  order entry. So far the program has been completed and is fully operational in the emergency department. Another key technological innovation at the hospital is the installation and use of electronic medication administration (EMAR).  “We are able to bar code everything that comes in and make sure it’s scanned and we get it to the right patient at the right time.”

But IT isn’t the only place where there’s been capital investment. The spine and orthopedic unit has also received significant attention. “We have a concierge on this floor to provide personalized customer service and patient education.” The floor is equipped with all private rooms that are a bit larger than the hospital’s average room, with each featuring internet access, a DVD player, refrigerator/freezer and the space and furniture to have a family member spend the night.

In addition to the orthopedic and spine unit, the hospital continues to make improvements around the facility. $2 million dollars was spent on the operating rooms and an equal amount was invested in the cardiac care line of service, along with the addition of a second CT scanner

A culture of collaboration

Meade says that the culture of Doctors Hospital is extremely important to its success. “My philosophy has always been to create a good work environment for employees and excel at the quality of services. It’s always been a good culture before I got here and since I’ve been here we’ve only improved further.” Currently Doctors Hospital enjoys a lower than average turnover rate and good patient satisfaction scores.

Meade says being part of HCA has given the hospital a competitive edge. “The biggest advantage is in best practice. If you’re a stand-alone facility, there’s no compelling reason for other hospitals to share their best practices, but we can probe into the successes of our hospitals and learn where those methods will work for us.

“My personal view,” adds Meade, is that we’ve been able to be successful by staying focused on our community and by working collaboratively with our board, physicians, employees and volunteers.  I think we’ve created an environment people feel good about.”

-by Jacqueline Rupp

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