Medical Minute: LAMC sees many highlights over past year

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By The Staff

Los Alamos Medical Center is a great hospital in a great community. We have outstanding doctors, high-tech equipment and employees who are continually looking for ways to increase the quality of our care and customer service.The good news: We’ve just ended a successful year, and we’re getting even better, with a $9 million capital project that will touch all four public floors of the hospital projected to get under way during first quarter 2008.New physicians are joining our medical staff, established physicians bring state-of-the-art techniques to our facility and our service lines continue to grow.“Medical Minute” will appear monthly in the Monitor, and through this column, you will learn about many facets of operations at LAMC. Physicians and nurses will update you on timely clinical issues, while department leaders will apprise you of what’s happening in their areas.But first, let’s take a look back at 2007 and some of our most notable progress.

• Implementation of a hospitalist program highlighted LAMC’s 2007 accomplishments. Under discussion for three years prior to its inception, the hospitalist program introduced a dynamic team of in-house physicians who are available to inpatients, staff and families from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and as needed on weekends.Led by Dr. Sara Pasqualoni, M.D., the program offers not only continuity of care but immediate learning opportunities for clinical employees. Pasqualoni and her colleagues also participate in quality monitoring and meaningful application of data to performance improvement, along with program development.Other hospitalists are Dr. Lenny Noronha, M.D., and Dr. Tatiana Canning, M.D.

• Additionally, top-of-the-list achievements for 2007 include gaining approval for the $9 million capital improvement project. Components in Phase I range from new quarters for Rehab Services (Physical Therapy and Cardiac Rehab) and Medical Records to a total upgrade for the third floor.The second floor’s MultiCare Unit (Med/Surg and ICU) will also get a makeover that includes creation of a new physician lounge and enhanced family waiting areas.More information will be forthcoming in this column as well as in various news articles and advertisements in the Monitor. Watch for construction updates and alerts so that you can stay informed about this exciting project.

• Our Quality Council, under the leadership of Dr. Rodney Barker, reshaped the quality effort at LAMC, incorporating new monitoring and tracking methodologies, and broadening the scope of membership in this multidisciplinary team. The group continues to make meaningful strides in improving everyday operations of LAMC.• Other major issues drawing administrative focus were employee, physician and patient satisfaction.Toward that end, new nurse leaders joined the Leadership Team, and a reorganization of the Employee Satisfaction Team assimilated the Care Committee (employee event planning) and the Wellness Committee into a larger group.Patient satisfaction efforts included the creation of LabExpress, allowing patients with standing orders to register only once for those tests, subsequently bypassing registration and going straight to the lab.LabExpress along with other process improvement efforts, helped us achieve our goal of decreasing registration wait times by five to seven minutes.We celebrated our four Employees of the Quarter and the Employee of the Year at our holiday party in December and look forward to recognizing the achievements of even more of our fine staff as we move forward on our journey to becoming a world-class healthcare facility.We welcome our new readers to this monthly space.Meanwhile, those with questions about LAMC may call Administration at 661-9500.

Sandra Podley is the chief executive officer of Los Alamos Medical Center.