Making the Case for Academic Medical CentersMay 14, 2014
There are many myths about receiving care at a teaching hospital – it’s more expensive, inexperienced students provide all the care, and it’s hard to find where you’re going. David Entwistle, CEO of University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, spends some time setting the record straight and explaining why he has spent his entire career in academic medicine. His interview was recorded as part of the University of Utah’s celebration of National Hospital Week.
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David Entwistle: I'm David Entwistle, C.E.O. of the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics.
Interviewer: David, it's National Hospital Week this week, so happy Hospital Week to you.
David Entwistle: Thank you. We're very excited.
Interviewer: Why is academic medicine still important? People in Salt Lake probably look up on the hill and they see this massive investment of resources. What makes it special as a hospital?
David Entwistle: Well, you think about it, the University of Utah Health Care being the only academic medical center in the intermountain west and the important role that we play in training that next generation of professionals. There are a lot of great things that health care organizations in our community do. What we're excited about is we're training that next generation of health care professionals, whether it's nurses, pharmacists, physicians, that will be out giving that care in our community. At the same time, because we're training the best, we also have some of the best physicians and greatest teachers, because they've gone out and they've become experts in their own light in their own fields because they're here training our students. We're able to deal with some of the most challenging diseases, illnesses, and other perspectives because we need the very best to be teaching our students. You get a unique care experience here with the very best multidisciplinary care in the country. One of the unique aspects of what we have in our community as well is the latest research, the latest whether it's the latest pharmaceuticals, whether it's the latest M.R.I. magnet, or whether it's the latest linear accelerator. We have all of that new technology because companies come here to prove and develop it. All of that comes back to being an academic medical center that provides that great resource and support to our community.
Interviewer: Right. You've been C.E.O. for almost eight years now?
David Entwistle: Yes.
Interviewer: Eight years. What's the most common misperception of academic medicine? I'm sure you've heard it all - we're more expensive, you have to only see students. When you talk to folks in the community, what do you hear mostly, and what's the real story?
David Entwistle: The real story is what I hear in the community is great things. People are excited about the care that they have here. They're excited to be able to come here. But, more importantly, they know they get great care, but at the same time we create truly an exceptional experience for them. Having that as a C.E.O. in our community certainly makes you feel good, but more importantly makes you proud of the great staff that we have. The real story is the fact that you do get the latest treatments and you do have the opportunity to interact with students. I can tell you having worked with students for many years, because my whole career has been in academic medical center, they challenge you. They ask that question. They've looked at the latest research. It's an interesting, intriguing environment to work in. Yes, as you come into our hospital you'll get to interact with those students. You'll also get the latest technology and equipment as well. I think it truly creates a unique experience for our patients to be able to get great care.
Interviewer: So, people shouldn't shy away from it. They should embrace...
David Entwistle: No, not at all. We have great students, and they provide a great experience while you're here. Again, they provide the latest access to the latest information as well.
Interviewer: And growing evidence that we're actually a pretty good value as well in terms of cost.
David Entwistle: You know, one of the things that we're very proud of here at the University of Utah Health Care is that aspect of price and value. Value is created by, one, the quality. We've certainly shown that we've got great marks in the quality. We've got great experience from a patient's perspective. But, more importantly, we have a low cost. Even as we look nationally, we rank very competitively in terms of the cost that we provide our care back to our community here. You know you're getting a great value when all of those things come together and you're getting great career.
Interviewer: You talk about you spent your entire career in academic medicine. What keeps you in academic medicine? What keeps you waking up in the morning and excited to come into the university?
David Entwistle: Certainly, health care is a unique aspect to be in. It's being able to come every morning and think about we have an opportunity to serve others and truly make a difference in their lives. Why I've appreciated and enjoyed academic medicine is you have that three fold mission: the research, the teaching, and the clinical care. That's not to say that's an easy task, and many times trying to pull all those three aspects together can be somewhat challenging. But, at the end of the day what I enjoy is it's invigorating, it's innovative, and it provides a lot of opportunity for us to do some great things.
Interviewer: A big event over this past weekend, we went live with our unified electronic medical record. You've got, hopefully, some employees listening and, hopefully, some community members. What would be your message to them about our new one chart system?
David Entwistle: We had a great opportunity to be able to go live on a new platform that is new to us. Being able to provide an electronic provider order entry is not new. We had a system before. This new system that we're so excited about, though, combines what we do on the outpatient side, inpatient side, the billing, scheduling, and registration. All of that comes together in one system so that when you come into our hospital, whether you're being seen at a clinic or seen on an inpatient unit, all your information will be in one place, one chart, so our providers have access to that. We're extremely excited for what that means, especially as you think about the safety, hand offs, and all that information that's there together. Yeah, a huge weekend. Literally, we have hundreds of people in our call centers and walking throughout our hospital helping to train our physicians and staff, even more so as they get more accustomed to it. I know it's difficult to learn anything new and it's going to take us probably several months to work through all of the learning pains with the new system, but I appreciate the staff's patience and willingness to move forward to what will be a better platform that will provide a safer environment for our patients. At the end of the day that's really what's important.
Interviewer: We were just joking that it looked like N.A.S.A.'s mission control out in our command center, probably a couple of hundred people out there.
David Entwistle: A couple of hundred people. In fact, wires hanging from ceilings. As you look at all the telephones and connections and ports and everything, it's one of our classrooms, it literally looks like N.A.S.A. incarnate right here at the U.
Interviewer: Finally, if you had a single message out to the community, out to our employees for this National Hospital Week, what would it be?
David Entwistle: My message is thank you. It's to thank our staff for the dedication that they give our patients every day, day in and day out, to make sure that they not only get the best care that has the best likelihood to getting them to full recovery, but it's also the fact that our staff literally treat our patients with dignity and respect, making sure that they truly have an exceptional experience here and that their family is also valued as part of that process. To our community I want to say thank you. Thank you for putting your trust in us, for supporting us, and for many, many years standing behind us in becoming what I think today is an excellent great care center.
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