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Physicians, APs: How Innovative is an Organization’s Leadership?

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As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, you can almost bet that a spirit of innovation will be required of you in your next position. Many healthcare organizations are being forced to improvise and think outside of the box or look to industries other than healthcare for innovative, inspiring, and cost-saving ideas.

Take West Park Hospital (WPH) in Cody, Wyo. In an interview I conducted with CEO Doug McMillan last year for Healthcare Executive Exchange Magazine, he reviewed WPH’s three-phased facility master plan. The first phase was the construction of a new medical office building. We covered that in a recent post.

The plan really got innovative with the second phase, which was called the Modernization Project, a $30-million renovation and expansion project that was built on the site of the old medical office building.

The Modernization Project consisted of building a new 11,000 square-foot emergency department with an ambulance bay that is connected to the ED. The second phase also included a new imaging department, laboratory, patient financial services department, gift shop, and a new front entrance that features a large mall connecting the newly constructed addition to the rest of the hospital.

The new addition was designed with the Disney model in mind: on-stage and off-stage halls that provide a hallway in the front of the facility for all outpatients, visitors, and staff and a back hallway connecting all patient areas in the facility for transportation of inpatients, surgical patients, and ED patients who are admitted to the medical & surgical or coronary-care units.

Other facets of the Modernization Project included relocating the LTCC front entrance and remodeling the front entrance and resident patios.

The third phase in the project was a series of relocations and repurposing of locations. This included moving all medical & surgical beds to the addition from the second phase and relocating the dietary department to the lower level of the new addition.

WPH originally intended to expand its conference center adjacent to the kitchen and cafeteria during the third phase, but cut this project because of cost, McMillan said.

“Fortunately, our Foundation has been offered a very nice gift to expand our conference center from Lenox Baker, MD, hospital trustee, and his wife Fran Baker, MD, so we are excited about the new Baker Community Education Center, which will provide the nicest conference and education facilities in Northwest Wyoming.”

The centerpiece of the third phase was the relocation of Cedar Mountain Center to the third floor of the hospital, the floor where the medical and surgical beds had previously been located. The original facility for Cedar Mountain Center, which is an inpatient chemical dependency center, was located across the street from the hospital. The old Cedar Mountain site will be used for expanded parking.

If you’re a physician or an advanced practitioner who likes to think outside of the box and explore new ways of doing things, you need to know whether your spirit of innovation will align well with a potential employer’s. Don’t gloss over these subjects in an interview. Take the time to discuss how you can help them innovate should they end up hiring you.

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