Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital at Arlington: Allan Beck, CEO

by HCE Exchange on November 1, 2010

Arlington Orthopedic Associates, Baylor Health Care System and United Surgical Partners International have developed a brand new, 57,000 square feet, orthopedic and spine hospital in Arlington, Texas. Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital at Arlington includes 24 inpatient beds, six operating rooms, one procedure room, imaging services and a two-bed emergency department.

“Baylor and USPI have embraced partnering with physicians,” says Allan Beck, CEO. “This is one of the many ventures in place throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, and it has proven to be an excellent model for high-quality patient care yielding excellent outcomes, patient satisfaction in a very efficient setting.”

Partners in Care

“Not only do we have a partnership with our physicians, Baylor and USPI, but we also have a cultural partnership with our staff throughout the whole facility.” says Beck. “We are all partners in bringing that care to the patient and I think that culture has caught on really well. We are always saying that we are all customers to each other… The patient is the number one customer, but we also embrace the concept of the physician being a customer to us as well as the patient’s family and our staff, we are customers to each other.”

Beck believes in celebrating all the employees, and emphasizes that he prefers not to isolate just one subset such as nurses or technicians. “We actually have a “Partners in Care’ week; our facilities have incorporated that. We have a full week that we celebrate everyone who makes it happen.”

Facility Design

Architects for the hospital had two key elements in mind for the design; efficiency and aesthetics. “They wanted everyone to feel comfortable in the hospital from patients to the staff members who spend many hours here. So they spent a lot of time with aesthetics as much as the flow process of inpatient to outpatient movement,” says Beck.

A lot of thought went into the technology of the facility, as well. Every operating room is equipped with a global device management system from Skytron medical equipment company.  Silver plates are installed in each wall that are compatible with every piece of equipment in the hospital. This creates a kind of interactive theater experience for the hospital. Any piece of equipment that is plugged in can be displayed on larger monitors in the OR room. Everything is hardwired into the education network. They can hold an education conference in the education room and have 2-way video capabilities from the operating room. Doctors can view the surgery from the conference room and the people in the operating room will be able to hear and view the people in the conference room. They can go back and forth and ask questions of each other as the surgery progresses.

This system also gives the hospital secure streaming capabilities. In one of their first sessions, colleagues in Mexico City, Sweden, and three different locations in the U.S. were able to participate in a surgical case presentation.

Beck is choosing to focus on making sure information technology capabilities are fully enhanced with the global device manager and electronic white boards. “Making sure all systems are integrated. That’s our big push,” he says.

Challenges

The hospital was built with the idea of easy expansion in mind, but the current legislative environment has imposed limitations. Getting the hospital up and running, of course, was a huge effort. Now that they’ve crossed that hurdle, they are left facing the same challenges as most hospitals. Decreasing reimbursement; increasing costs. Beck says he refuses to turn the issue of pricing into a battle with the vendors. “Very early on we actually sat down to partner with our vendors,” he says. “I think also engaging our physicians 100%, having truly engaged physicians who are very active in the organization has helped us get to where we are now.”

He sees the hospital partnership with physicians as a plus. “They view this as their hospital and want to participate in a positive way, and want to make sure that everything is done as efficiently and effective as possible.” The physicians and the hospital are working for the same interest, not competing with one another.

“Others may have 70 doctors from 15 different groups,” Beck says. “There are different interests. This, on the other hand, is one physician group. We’ve had even more success with that because obviously any hospital that has highly engaged physicians is more successful. It’s going to be better for the hospital, the patient, and for everyone.”

-by T.M. Simmons

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