Northwest Medical Center: Dianne Goldenberg, RN, Chief Executive Officer

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Technology is ever-changing in the healthcare industry. All hospitals work hard to stay abreast of the latest state-of-the-art equipment, but technology is also advancing how physicians receive medical information, how medical records are stored, how patient care is delivered, and how hospital news is communicated.

One hospital, Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Fla., is making progress in all areas of technological advancement. Northwest is a 215-bed medical center and healthcare complex with approximately 800 employees. The hospital offers women’s and children’s services, minimally invasive surgery, a bariatric-surgery Center of Excellence, a certified Primary Stroke Center, and most recently, open-heart surgery.

In August 2010, the hospital opened the Heart and Vascular Institute, the only Cardiac Level II Licensed Program in northwest Broward County. And the hospital is planning a $23-million expansion to accommodate cardiovascular operating rooms, intensive-care units, and support structures for the open-heart facility that is scheduled to open March 2012.

“This expansion is exciting for our community,” said Dianne Goldenberg, RN, chief executive officer. “People used to have to travel for open-heart surgery, and now they can receive continuity of cardiac care right in their own backyard. We think the new facility will be a perfect blend of state-of-the-art equipment with superior physicians and clinical staff.”

Goldenberg said the hospital is also making investments in medical technology with the purchase of a da Vinci-Si Robotic Surgical System, installation of radiology PACS, and upgrades to interventional radiology and diagnostic imaging services.

Piloting technology

In addition to medical equipment, there’s a heightened awareness and demand in the industry for receiving imaging data, results, and other patient information on handheld devices.

In April 2011, HCA and three of their South Florida hospitals, Northwest Medical Center being one of them, were the first hospitals in the nation to use the AirStrip Cardiology software system that allows clinicians to view ECG data  in real-time. The system uses data from the GE Healthcare MUSE Cardiology Information System and makes it available on the physicians’ iPhones and iPads.

Northwest has also implemented computerized physician order entry (CPOE).

“We’re getting a head start with the electronic medical records (EMR) initiative,” Goldenberg said. “CPOE ensures numerous benefits to our patients, staff, and physicians. The hospital has faced the common challenges associated with moving toward electronic medical records, but focusing on the positive impact on patient safety has helped staff work through the barriers.

“We are ranked among the highest in the nation for core measures,” she added. “We focus on evidence-based medicine, and along with our EHR initiative, we are tying quality, safety, and technology together to provide the best care and great clinical outcomes.”

Using the latest technology for communication

Northwest Medical Center is dedicated to providing the best care possible to its patients and to being a community partner. Part of that role involves communicating effectively with patients or potential patients to be sure they know about the care they can receive at Northwest. With many services, awards, designations, and renovations, Northwest has a lot to share.

Goldenberg said the hospital regularly uses Facebook and Twitter to share news and updates. It also maintains a blog with health-related articles on its website.

“We always try to give consumers information about facilities, services, what we provide,” she said. “As avenues of communication change, we change, too.”

Another service that Northwest provides to its patients is digital billboards seen from the road that display current emergency-room wait times. Patients can also find the wait times on the hospital’s website or have them sent to their phones. Wait times are a source of stress for patients throughout the country, and publishing those times where patients can view them before coming to the hospital can help set expectations.

Adapting to the future

As technology changes in communication, equipment, and patient expectations, Northwest plans to stay involved and moving forward.

“We are always looking at what we need to enhance the patient experience,” Goldenberg said. “Our goal in the future is to become a high-level tertiary-care center for the people in North Broward County. We have a dedicated medical staff and are willing to grow to meet the needs of our community.”

As with all hospitals, Northwest is preparing to respond to healthcare reform. It is looking at strategies for physician alignment and other challenges expected to come.

Northwest Medical Center is part of the Hospital Corporation of America’s (HCA) East Florida Division. HCA’s East Florida Division is a comprehensive network of 13 hospitals, numerous outpatient surgery centers and imaging facilities, an integrated regional laboratory, physician practices, medical education and training programs, and a complete continuum of specialized health programs and services that meet the healthcare needs of residents and businesses in the South Florida and Treasure Coast communities.

HCA East Florida hospitals cared for more than one million patients in 2010. This care included 520,147 visits to our emergency rooms (ERs) and 168,308 hospital admissions.

HCA East Florida has over 4,500 physicians on staff, and more than 14,000 employees provide the quality foundation for delivering care to their patients safely, effectively, and compassionately. Its hospitals are Joint Commission Accredited, with designations that include Accredited Chest Pain Centers, Primary or Comprehensive Stroke Centers, Centers of Excellence, a trauma center in St. Lucie County, and many others.

For more information, please visit HCA’s website at

-by Patricia Chaney

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