Observers get insight at ARH

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2013

As part of National Hospital Week activities, Andalusia Regional Hospital invited visitors to spend half a day observing different departments on Tuesday.

CEO Rebecca Brewer has been focused on slowing the migration of people to larger communities for health care services that can be handled locally. Getting feedback from disinterested observers serves a two-fold purpose, she said. First, those observers might see something that could be done differently; secondly, if they like what they see, they can help her spread the word.

Terry Powell, who is a hospital board member, spent his morning in the operating room. Powell said he was amazed by the detailed precautions that are surgical protocol, from paperwork before surgery begins, to the safety steps taken in the OR.

“I hope I never need their services,” he said. “But I’d be very comfortable putting myself in their care.”

Sammy Glover, also a board member, shadowed ARH employees in radiology and physical therapy. Glover also said he was pleased with what he saw.

“I’d be very comfortable letting people know they don’t have to run to Pensacola or Montgomery for quality care,” he said.

Michele Gerlach shadowed employees in the Emergency Room and the lab. A 78-year-old with a history of heart issues arrived in the ER by ambulance complaining of chest pains, and with an irregular heartbeat.

“Advanced EMS phoned ahead, and the ER staff was literally waiting for the patient to arrive,” Gerlach said. “But what surprised me was the speed with which they got him out of there. They had barely gotten him settled in the ER and started running tests before his regular cardiologist returned a phone call and asked that he be brought immediately to Dothan without waiting for further tests.”

Advanced EMS returned promptly to transport, she said.

In the lab, as many as 300 specimen tests are done daily. Gerlach said she was surprised to learn that some tests take 24 hours.