Monday, May 10, 2021

2020 is the Year of Communication and Community

To Your Health

Dr. Dolittle is back.

On Friday, January 17th, children, parents, and grandparents will experience a new installment of this timeless family favorite. The story of a uniquely skilled “medical professional” made famous in the film by Rex Harrison in 1967 and Eddie Murphy in 1998.

Though the word “Doctor” was removed from the title this time around, “Dolittle” starring Robert Downey Jr. will once again showcase Dr. John Dolittle’s celebrated ability to talk to the animals.

As they say, the magic of the movies.

I’ve known some very talented, even intuitive, veterinarians over the years. But none of them have been able to strike up a conversation with one of their patients.

If the cinematic Dolittles have taught us anything, it’s that the public likes communicative medical professionals. It’s human nature; everyone wants to know what’s going on.

As they should.

Think about the last time you waited for something. Often, the wait is never as bad as the lack of information about what’s causing it. What’s going on? How much longer will it be? Should I come back another time?

For me, 2020 is the year of communication and community.

I’ve written on this topic before. These columns exist with the sole purpose of delivering information on the “latest and greatest” that Physicians Regional has to offer: New physicians, equipment, programs, service lines, etc.

With the continuing growth of East Naples, Physicians Regional has become the area’s dominant healthcare provider. Naturally, as the Market CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, it’s my responsibility to keep the public informed.

For a long time, Physicians Regional was seen as individual parts: Collier Blvd. campus, the Pine Ridge campus, the Marco Island Clinic, etc. In many ways, we operated as “separate but equal” entities, too.

Over the last 5 years, Physicians Regional has focused on changing the culture across the organization to build a cohesive and collaborative team. Though we have several facilities throughout Southwest Florida, we are one organization. An organization with exceptional

primary care physicians, specialists, and clinicians who can address a myriad of health care needs.

Communication is the catalyst at all levels of our organization. This includes the 600-plus physicians on the medical staff.

My goal is to get all 1,800 employees and 600 medical staff physicians working together to make Physicians Regional Healthcare System the best place to work, the best place for physicians to practice medicine, and most importantly, the BEST PLACE for our patients to receive the highest quality of care.

We must continue to improve upon the various ways we communicate with patients and their families. We have multiple initiatives in place, both electronically and directly, to ensure our patients understand what to expect.

For example, those in need of emergency room care will find estimated wait times for our Collier Blvd. and Pine Ridge ERs on our website. Once a patient arrives, they benefit from our 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Pledge that a medical professional (physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner) will work diligently to have our patients seen within 30 minutes of their noted arrival.

When you’re in an emergency situation, there’s nothing more important than the quality of care, as well as the comfort of being informed.

Appropriate communication doesn’t end with the patient, especially in our community. The simple act of including family members is as crucial as having families actively engaged in the care and recovery process. Which typically leads to better overall outcomes.

Despite major growth in the area, many still describe Naples and Marco Island as “small towns” where “everyone knows everyone.” As a healthcare professional, the sense of civic responsibility increases with the knowledge that we’re, quite literally, treating our family, friends, and neighbors.

This also explains our continued focus on meeting the needs and demands of our community. Here at Physicians Regional, we’ve seen tremendous success in the last few years and want to continue to deliver services that the residents of Southwest Florida want and need.

After launching our Comprehensive Stroke Program in 2019, we look forward to advancing our cardiac services in 2020.

Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge is a designated Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA). This designation is based on standards set by the AHCA that distinguish hospitals with the infrastructure, staff, and training to receive and treat patients with all types of strokes. Physicians Regional-Collier Blvd. is a Primary Stroke Center.

In early 2020, we’ll be adding advanced cardiac care at our Collier Blvd campus and our Open Heart Program will open at Pine Ridge in the summer.

Just like a stroke, time is crucial when cardiac intervention is necessary, and we’re excited to be able to offer patients options for high quality and efficient advanced care.

So, for 2020, it’s: Community, communication, and commitment.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 239-348-4221 or visit

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