Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital: Josh Urban, COO

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The largest not-for-profit healthcare system in the state of Texas is Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. One of the top performing eleven hospitals in the System is Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital which has provided high quality, patient- and family-centered care since it opened its doors 25 years ago in 1985. It is a 252 private bed hospital located north of Houston in The Woodlands, a master-planned community.

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands provides the highest level of trauma care in Montgomery County and is also the only hospital in the county to be granted Magnet® status for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) – nursing’s highest honor with just 6% of hospitals in the country having this designation. Additionally in 2010, HealthGradesâ ranked Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, part of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, among the top 1% of U.S. Hospitals.

East Tower Expansion

The Woodlands Hospital recently broke ground on the new $80 million, seven-story East Tower. Phase one of the 240,000-square-foot expansion will add eight state-of-the-art surgical suites and surgical support services, including pre-operation and recovery rooms, waiting areas and a new sterile processing center. The expansion will also include the renovation of the existing hospital surgical suites.

“We have reached capacity several times in the past five to ten years leading us to turn patients away because there is not a bed available for them,” says Josh Urban, Chief Operating Officer of the hospital. “The greater Montgomery County area is one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S. and it is our responsibility to continue to respond to that growth not only with facilities like the new patient tower, but also technology and a higher level of services.”

A History Rich in Growth

Since 1991, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System has invested more than $180 million on The Woodlands Campus to respond to the growth and needs of this dynamic market. When they built the six-story West Tower in 2003, they included additional floors of shelled space which were later built out to accommodate two floors of patient beds. In the new East Tower expansion, four floors of shelled space will be ready to meet future needs for additional inpatient beds, physician offices or post acute services.

The current expansion marks the third major expansion project undertaken by Memorial Hermann The Woodlands in the past decade. In addition to the West Tower expansion, a third medical office building was opened on campus in 2005. Last year, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands opened 24-HR Emergency Care, a community-based emergency services facility with onsite lab and imaging services. They also established an ongoing relationship with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Mischer Neuroscience Institute and the University of Texas Health Science Center.

“We continue to invest in our future to meet the growing needs of our community,” says Urban. “We are well on our way to accomplishing our vision to bring a medical center level of care to the communities we serve.”

Best Practices Driving Efficiency

“We have best practices that guide the look, the feel, the colors, the selection of artwork, and the interior layout. By being part of a large system, we have stronger buying power and efficiency through standardization to help keep our costs down,” says Patrick Shay, Director of Engineering and Security.

Operational efficiency examples include the successful improvement of Emergency Center flow processes at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands. It became a total redesign of the way patients flow and the way operations run in the emergency center and as a result, these processes changed across the entire System.

Another example of corporate efficiency is an energy consumption reduction initiative resulted in system-wide savings of more than $3 million in utilities and resulted in two hospitals in the system receiving the Energy Star Award.

Collaborative Efforts Reach Positive Outcomes

“One thing I’m very proud of for our facility are the patient satisfaction ratings each year. Memorial Hermann The Woodlands is among the top scoring facilities in the Houston area,” says Urban.

In addition, the employee satisfaction results for Memorial Hermann The Woodlands are among the highest in the system. In physician satisfaction ratings last year, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands was in the 86th percentile nationally.

“The managers and directors in this hospital get together every two weeks with the entire senior management team at a meeting led by our CEO, Steve Sanders. There, we discuss patient satisfaction results, including our recent scores and specific survey comments,” says Urban. “Leaders from the different departments talk about what areas need improvement. We also end up talking about employee satisfaction and put equal diligence into physician satisfaction.”

“The best thing about that meeting,” says Shay, “is that we are bringing departments together so that we can support one another in ways to improve scores through better processes. As a result, we have seen great improvements in turnaround time for services that require lab work and/or and imaging – and our patients and staff are responding positively.”

When satisfaction scores are matched with financial performance, The Woodlands Hospital comes out as one of the best performing hospitals in the System.

“We do a lot of multidisciplinary, or multi-department work,” says Urban. “We have a strong team that works together, communicates and produces great results.”

-by T.M. Simmons

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