Straight Talk - “53rd Annual NCH Healthcare System Ball”

November 3, 2010

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Individual achievements and “Smart Rooms” were the focus of a wonderfully successful 53rd Annual NCH Healthcare System Ball, this past Saturday night at the Ritz Carlton.

More than 500 friends of NCH came together to recognize Mrs. Thelma Hodges as our Honorary Chair, to award Dr. Carl Liebert the title of Physician of the Year, and to showcase the Nurses of Excellence—Nurses of the Year Peggy Munson North Naples (NN) and Patricia Haines, Downtown (DT), Rising Stars Michelle Dettorre (NN) and Kaitlen Magdalener (DT), and Support Super Stars Rolin Bastien (NN) and Colleen Boyle (DT).

While we hailed our NCH superstars, we also took time to marvel at the latest technological advancements at our system. “Smart Rooms” integrate wireless technology and medical software. Starting this winter, the first ones will be installed on the 5th and 6th floors of the Baker Tower at North Naples, and then throughout the entire system. The Smart Room senses when a caregiver enters the room. Then the technology “introduces” the caregiver (care technician, nurse, therapist, physician, dietary or environmental service individual) by flashing the person’s picture, name and title on a flat screen TV, easily viewed by the patient and their family. Simultaneously, outside the patient’s room, a smaller screen informs anyone passing by that a caregiver is with the patient. This same hallway screen also indicates if the patient is in isolation or has any other special needs.

The Smart Room offers the patient educational videos selected for his/her needs. Patients with diabetes, for instance, would view videos on diet, exercise, and medications. For nurses and physicians, a second flat screen above the patient’s headboard will indicate clinical data selected by the clinician, plus the entire medical record. The nurse’s view for instance might show which medication should be given, while a physician’s might view recent lab data. The Smart Room is also a seamless and secure integration of information. Thus a physician can keep current on a patient’s condition, whether at home, in the office, or somewhere else on the hospital campus, any time, any day of the week

Now back to the folks who use this technology and make the care possible.

We begin with Thelma Hodges, who arrived in Naples in Naples in 1955 as one of the first three employees for a new hospital still under construction. A charge nurse, Thelma was here more than a half century ago when we opened with 50 beds and 10 physicians serving 5,000 Neapolitans. Over her 21-year nursing career, Thelma worked in central supply, surgery and the ER. Following her retirement, she continued with the hospital auxiliary and to has accumulated more than 15,000 hours (the equivalent of another 8+ years of employment). Thelma was there at the birth of the hospital, helped us grow to maturity, and now is enjoying our adulthood. She claims to be the first to truly say, “This is My Hospital.”

At the Ball, we continued the tradition of announcing the Physician of the Year chosen by his/her colleagues. Of the 86 nominees, the nine finalists were Drs. Ken Bookman, David Greider, John Lewis, Deborah Lopez, Carlos Quintero, Jack Ryan, James Talano and Todd Vedder—and Dr. Carl Liebert, the winner among all these great physicians. Dr. Liebert has been on the medical staff for 25 years and in 2009 was the Founding Chairperson of the Physician Excellence Committee which has focused on peer review. Dr. Paul Dernbach, President of the Medical Staff, initiated the Carl Liebert Quality Award, given for the first time this year to Dr. David Greider for his leadership in quality and continuing medical education for the entire medical staff.

In all, it was a wonderful evening supported by the Foundation staff that recognized those who helped us get here today, and those who will lead us tomorrow—aided by the innovations of technology.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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