With the changing times and changes in your locality, there may come a time when you need to consider upgrades to hospitals in the area to meet the needs of the public. There are several changes that can give patients more access to services and improve outcomes.
Seek A Trauma Designation
Hospitals with the technology and personnel available to be designated as a trauma center are one of the most important assets of a facility. There are numerous localities where a trauma center, especially a Level I trauma center, is hundreds of miles away. This prolongs the time it takes for trauma patients to reach hospitals better equipped to handle their situation and possibly surpassing the "golden hour" when trauma patients have the best chance of survival.
Consider what your facility can do to reach trauma designation. This may involve hiring new personnel, such as trauma surgeons, and having enough specialized personnel available so a trauma team is available at any hour of the day. You should also invest in portable equipment to reduce the need to move patients for some imaging tests, such as X-ray or ultrasound. The speed at which you can make an accurate diagnosis and transfer patients to surgery, when needed, is the hallmark of a good trauma center.
Become A Stroke And/Or Heart Attack Center
Many hospitals pride themselves on being the area stroke and/or heart attack center. They may accept patients from less established facilities that are unable to provide the necessary care to diagnose and promptly treat these vascular conditions. Part of effectively treating serious vascular events is having the appropriate equipment and personnel on-site. For example, interventional radiologists are increasingly becoming imperative in treating both cerebrovascular and cardiovascular problems.
One of the major benefits of these specialists is they can use minimally-invasive techniques to perform common procedures that were traditionally fixed with an open incision. Stenting and coronary bypass surgeries were always performed as an open procedure, which significantly increased the risk of complications from bleeding, being on a heart bypass machine, and infection. Many patients are candidates for having the procedure performed with a small incision in the groin and under imaging guidance.
Improve ICU Patient Outcomes
Another area of the hospital where upgrading is important is in the ICU. Some hospitals choose to hire specialized staff to monitor patients in the ICU because this may lead to better outcomes when their condition is unstable. All hospitals should have at least one intensivist on each shift but preferably more depending on the number of patients you are capable of having in your ICU. A consultant for the ICU has specialized training in the management of critical care patients. Sometimes doctors from other specialties choose to further their training by taking a fellowship in critical care medicine, which is an added bonus for your facility.
You might consider finding doctors who have backgrounds in different areas of medicine and advanced training in critical care to give you patients the best-possible outcomes. For example, trauma surgery, cardiology, and neurology are among some of the most common cases that you may see in the ICU. Having doctors in each of these fields with critical care training means they are better able to handle the complexities that come with serious events involving these specialties. You may even choose to take your ICU a step further by having designated ICUs for these three specialties and utilizing the main ICU for cases that do not fit neatly into a category or patients with multi-system critical care issues.
Being able to handle almost any case that walks through your door will make a single hospital stand out among others in the area. Any upgrades to your hospital should focus on meeting the needs of a diverse patient population and giving them the best chance at a full recovery.
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