When the doors opened at Oviedo Medical Center on January 30, welcoming the first patients, it was a monumental moment decades in the making. The first discussion of bringing a hospital to Oviedo and East Seminole County began 16 years ago. The plans and vision for the hospital would change and adjust over the years to accommodate the ongoing rapid growth and needs of the community. First, there was the opening of the 12-bed free standing emergency department three years ago, which promptly doubled its expected number of visits. Now, there is great excitement and anticipation in the community with the opening of the $109 million acute care facility. The 198,000-square-foot, 64-bed hospital nestled at the corner of Red Bug Lake Road and Toll Road 417 is easily accessible to residents in Oviedo, Winter Springs and East Seminole County. Yet, as impressive as the successful opening of the Oviedo Medical Center, part of HCA North Florida, is what it took to develop the idea of this hospital into a true community-based medical center is even more so. It began with the culmination of the vision of healthcare leaders who, charged with developing a medical center that would meet the growing needs of one of the most popular and fastest growing communities in the country, turned to the community for considerable input and a talent pool that would create a unique, community based healthcare culture.
To understand the community focus of Oviedo Medical Center, you have to start at the top with K.C. Donahey, the Chief Executive Officer. Donahey was COO at HCA’s West Florida Healthcare in Pensacola when he got the call for an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “When I first visited the site here in Oviedo, the family atmosphere sold me. I have a six and 10-year-old who I knew would thrive here. Now, living in the heart of Oviedo, my entire family loves this area and all of the amenities. It seemed a perfect fit to bring my family to this community and then in turn work to fill a void by bringing a hospital to the heart of this area.”
Among Donahey’s critical first tasks was building the team that would comprise the medical center and ultimately create a culture that would fit well with the surrounding community.
“This is an easy area to recruit to with a very good environment for physicians and staff. This led to an abundance of qualified individuals who wanted to be a part of our team,” says Donahey.
The Team at Oviedo Medical Center
“We began with a simple, yet critical question ‘Why healthcare?’. No matter how qualified the candidates were, we asked each of them this question,” explains Donahey. “Quite simply we wanted to find out why they were passionate about their profession. How they spoke to this was a deciding factor if they were going to be the right fit for our team. In turn we heard unbelievable personal stories from candidates about what drew them to pursue a career in healthcare. We learned about their personal connections, perhaps a family member’s real life experience, and we talked about what they would implement and change to create a culture focused on improvement and care of human life.”
For Donahey it was important to continue to build on the HCA culture of empowerment.
“We knew to become a top level, highly regarded hospital we needed to have our bedside caregivers involved in the decision making and the strategy of the hospital. We knew we had to find the right team that was motivated and passionate.”
Between Donahey and Teresa Nardontonia, Chief Nursing Officer, they interviewed every employee of the hospital. With just over 200 employees, it has been a lengthy, but incredibly rewarding process.
“Above all else we are true to our mission – we are committed to improvement and care of human life. It really came down to this when we were building our team and ultimately our culture,” says Donahey.
The Patient Experience
Now, with a team in place and operations underway the focus is on the patient experience.
“We know that the way we are going to set ourselves apart is to offer our patients an experience, right in their own backyard, that is unique to anything else they may be able to find in Central Florida,” explains Donahey.
That begins with technology. The MyCare electronic communication boards found in each of the private rooms will list everything from the patient’s team and contact information to upcoming tests, dietary restrictions and anticipated discharge. Nurses will benefit from an advanced nurse call system called NaviCare®. This patient safety application will assist caregivers at the bedside by assigning patient risk directly from electronic medical records and activating safety settings on beds accordingly.
“From our progressive approach to our nursing care, to our spacious rooms, to our CT suite and our intensive care unit we have the most advanced diagnostic technology available and systems in place to ensure our patients can heal quickly,” explains Donahey.
The ICU is one example. Each of the 10 ICU rooms has its own private full bathroom and open visitation hours 24/7. Rooms have been designed with a focus on family and can accommodate family members. The hospital even encourages a designated ‘partner in care’ to stay in the room overnight.
Memorable Beginnings Mother/Baby Unit
One of the lesser known services now being offered at Oviedo Medical Center includes delivering babies. The Memorable Beginnings unit offers family centered care where families can choose their birth experience, receive a celebration meal after baby’s arrival and can rest assured knowing that a Nemours pediatrician is on call. The unit includes six LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery, postpartum) suites where moms can get comfortable and not have to change rooms. The same can be said for the newborns. The suites are set up so baby doesn’t have to leave for any reason other than a medical procedure.
The Community’s Hospital
For Donahey the family focus at Oviedo Medical Center is evident even just walking down the hall. “What I love about a community based hospital is the family type atmosphere where everybody knows one another’s name. You say hello and identify one another when you pass in the hallway or in the community,” says Donahey.
The Oviedo Medical Center is also committed to local independent physicians in the Oviedo area. So far over 250 physicians have applied for privileges at the hospital and its expected that number will continue to grow.
“It is our vision to be our community’s trusted partner in healthcare, where the patient’s point of view is the foundation of our care,” says Donahey. “We are adamant that as a team we focus on empathy and put ourselves in our patient’s shoes every day. That is our commitment to this community, to provide the best quality outcomes for our patients.”
The Oviedo Medical Center expects to serve 35,000 residents in Oviedo and East Seminole County in the first year. Ultimately, there are plans to continue to grow to meet the community’s needs and the hospital has shell space to grow to a 150-180 bed facility over the next few years.
“This has been THIS community’s hospital since the planning stages. Now that we are open for business we are excited to introduce our team to the community and let them experience first-hand our commitment to meeting their needs. We are passionate about healthcare and thrilled to be here in Oviedo,” says Donahey.
By Katie Dagenais