Cary Medical team earns top honor

Posted Sept. 03, 2009, at 9:43 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:42 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Quality care, putting the patient first, and embracing the latest technology to treat patients and keep them safe are just some of the elements officials at Cary Medical Center feel have helped the facility’s senior leadership team be named among the winners in the sixth annual HealthLeaders Media Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare program.

The contest was sponsored by Cejka Search, GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, and Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. The eight-member leadership team at Cary won in the small hospitals division.

“We are very excited and pleased to have received the recognition,” Shawn Anderson, chief operating officer at the Caribou hospital, said Thursday. “We are also very humbled by the award.”

HealthLeaders Media is the premier publisher of information resources for senior-level health care executives, reaching more than 100,000 health care decision-makers nationwide every month. HealthLeaders magazine is its flagship monthly journal.

The Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare 2009 program celebrates the outstanding teamwork that occurs in health care organizations each day. It also shares what makes top leadership teams successful and encourages other health care leaders to learn more from the best practices of top leadership teams. Winners are judged on the team’s overall leadership culture, its ability to overcome challenges, and its ability to demonstrate successes that result from outstanding leadership teamwork. One winner per category receives the national honor each year.

Anderson said Thursday that a representative from the magazine spent several days at Cary, meeting with Kris Doody, the hospital’s chief executive officer, and the other members of the team. The representative observed the inner workings of the facility and talked with Cary officials about the mechanics of running a hospital that provides services to a rural population.

Anderson noted that the award-winning team has a total of 175 years of experience in health care administration leadership.

“We have worked side by side to build and maintain the core values of this hospital,” he said. “Those values drive us to focus on doing the right thing for our patients, our employees, our medical staff and the community.”

The hospital’s use of cutting-edge technology was of particular interest to the magazine.

“Despite being a 65-bed hospital in rural Maine, Cary Medical Center is at the forefront of using the latest health care information technology to improve care,” the magazine noted.

Advanced technology has been embraced by the hospital, which in 2006 was listed in the top 2 percent of hospitals in the nation for health information and patient safety technology, according to the Health Information and Management Systems Society.

Cary has automated medication dispensing in place, a system that stores, dispenses and tracks medication use. Medication bar coding is used to reduce medication errors, as it ensures that patients receive the correct prescription and dosage. The hospital also employs computerized physician order entry and electronic nursing documentation.

“We have been very aggressive in our efforts to implement the latest technology in our hospital, and that was recognized,” said Anderson. “It keeps patients safe, and that is why we do it. Nothing is too good for our patients.

“Many hospitals have put their money into bricks and mortar,” he continued. “But we have sunk that money into safety. A lot of that safety comes through the implementation of technology. We are a small, rural hospital, but we are able to accomplish a great deal because of the leadership we have on board.”

Anderson credited Doody for much of the success, saying she provides the team with direction and is a key supporter of their efforts.

“She is a great asset to this hospital,” he added.

HealthLeaders Media editor-in-chief Jim Molpus said the 2009 Top Leadership Teams winners share a common thread in that “systemic barriers to health care performance have not stopped them.”

“We hear so much defeatism coming out of the healthcare debate today,” he said in a written statement. “Then you look at the challenges facing a public, safety-net hospital system like Denver Health. Others in very similar situations have closed, but Denver Health has set the bar higher than merely surviving. It has found a way to grow and to carry out the highest purposes of its mission to serve the citizens of Denver.”

He also lauded Doody and other team members for their work.

“The challenges of running a small, rural hospital in the current health care economy are daunting,” said Molpus. “Kris Doody and her team at Cary Medical Center have refused to let their setting dictate how high their goals are. The team also recognizes and welcomes its role as not only the community’s hospital, but as a community leader.”

Anderson said the award would further solidify the hospital’s reputation as a quality institution.

This award comes on the heels of other recent awards Cary has received for patient satisfaction, immunization rates and employee safety.

Representatives from the leadership team will go to Chicago to receive the award next month.

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