Takoma Regional Hospital: Daniel Wolcott, President & CEO

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

One of Tennessee’s top-rated hospitals for patient safety got its start as a sanitarium in 1928. According to the most recent Leapfrog Report, Takoma Regional Hospital joins Vanderbilt and Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt as only three hospitals in Tennessee to achieve the highest possible patient safety ratings in three areas including “Prevent Medication Errors.”

The 100-bed hospital serves Greeneville and Greene County in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The hospital is a partnership between  Wellmont Health System, the premier healthcare provider in the Tri-State region of northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia and southeast Kentucky and Adventist Health System, its managing partner. The staff includes 120 physicians and 450 nurses, technicians, and support staff members.

Embracing Technology

Takoma Regional Hospital was the first hospital associated with either joint venture partner to implement Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE).

“We have certainly had our share of challenges,” Wolcott said. “A change of this magnitude is never easy, but at this point most of our providers and associates are fully on board.”  Indeed, Takoma is realizing the benefits of being an early adopter.

One benefit has been in the area of diabetes management. “We’re able to better control blood glucose levels, for instance,” says Wolcott. “The credit here goes to our hospitalists, nurses and pharmacists as they utilize  enhancements in the computer system to monitor and manage blood glucose more closely, enabling our patients to get better faster.”

CPOE has also helped reduce delays in treatment and provides decision support to the physician directly at the point of care. This means that physicians are able to cross-reference for drug interactions and potential drug allergies, giving them the opportunity to alter their plan of care accordingly.

Takoma Regional continues to maintain results that are well above the national Leapfrog Group standards for CPOE.

Better Healthcare through Teamwork

At the very core of the team is the Takoma Regional medical staff. “We want to ensure that our physicians succeed as the hospital succeeds,” Wolcott said. “We are continually looking at ways to enhance the physician practice.”

“Healthcare is a very person dependent, individual dependent industry. It’s important that each associate, each medical staff member, each volunteer, each board member—have a stake in our organization and understands where we’re headed. We really look for associates that share our goals, understand our mission and realize that we must work together to excel in patient care. Teamwork, compassion and their Christian mission are the focus of an extensive orientation.

Takoma’s goal of being the best place to work, practice medicine and receive care appears to have taken root as they have won their local newspaper’s People’s Choice award for Best Hospital, Best Place to Work and Most Community Involved Business for two years running.

Advantages to Being a Part of a Big System

Takoma Regional is a joint venture between two large health systems. Adventist manages the hospital. “Certainly, the strength that Adventist brings to the table is the depth of understanding in healthcare and the technology and expertise surrounding purchasing and productivity,” says Wolcott.

“What Wellmont Health System brings to the table is name recognition in our local community. It gives us a sense of being a part of something bigger than one little hospital in one little town in one little corner of Tennessee. Wellmont brings a tremendous amount to the table in terms of local power and leverage, our ability to negotiate managed care contracts, and our ability to work together with our medical staff to create a continuity of care for our patients.”

“We’re proud to be able to serve this community,” says Wolcott. “We’re a not-for-profit hospital and we think our Christian mission provides us with an extra special level of compassion, expectation of care, and quality that is important to our associates, our medical staff, and our community.”

-by T.M. Simmons

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