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KershawHealth committed to offering quality healthcare

Posted: March 7, 2014 12:28 p.m.
Updated: March 10, 2014 5:00 a.m.

As I noted in my column last month, the ultimate objective for KershawHealth is providing quality care for all the people in this community, and one of the biggest factors affecting our success in that endeavor is local support for this hospital. Do people in the community trust and value what KershawHealth offers enough to make it their first choice for care?

There’s that old saying that “the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence,” and it’s just as true when talking about healthcare as anything else in life. It’s easy to assume that the best care is found at the largest medical centers or teaching hospitals -- on the other side of the fence. While there are certainly times when it is absolutely appropriate to seek out a large medical center, in most cases excellent care is found right in our own backyard. And while, for example, we wouldn’t expect to find open-heart surgery performed at a community hospital, we can -- and should -- expect most specialty and primary services to be performed with the same expertise and care here as anywhere.

KershawHealth does not operate in a vacuum; it is part of the larger Midlands healthcare landscape. Local residents can easily travel to Columbia, even for routine care. There, they will find three major medical centers vying for attention and offering a host of healthcare options. All will insist they have the best technology, facilities, and care available.

But is that really the case? In some cases, yes. But I believe that in the vast majority of cases, the care offered at KershawHealth is equal to that provided anywhere in South Carolina. There are many things that make this possible. Over the years, KershawHealth has invested significant resources to provide advanced technology and facilities. Those resources have enabled us to offer treatments like aquatic therapy and cardiac rehabilitation, and to achieve designation as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, among other accomplishments. In addition, the physicians that practice here are among the best trained and qualified professionals you will find anywhere.

Further, numerous aspects of healthcare are standardized across the country, using best practices developed from extensive research. Some of those are codified as National Patient Safety Goals developed by The Joint Commission, and KershawHealth adopts these goals and others. These can be as simple as using at least two different ways (i.e., name <italic> and </italic> date of birth) to identify patients and ensure they get the correct medicine and treatment, or using correct hand cleaning procedures. Others require implementing proven guidelines to prevent infections in patients, ensure the correct surgery is done on the correct patient, or taking steps to record and pass along accurate and complete information about a patient’s medications. These goals help ensure we are employing the same best practices implemented by hospitals nationwide.

KershawHealth also develops performance improvement initiatives designed to impact not only patient care, but the level of service provided. These include steps to improve the length of time patients spend in the emergency room, reducing the average length of stay in the hospital, improving the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital, and increasing overall patient satisfaction. Once again, most of these initiatives are mirrored nationally.

Standardized treatment protocols and process improvements are just one part of the trust and value equation. Equally important, though, is something I hear people in the community speak about frequently -- the incredible sense of personal care and attention they receive from KershawHealth staff. It’s clear that our employees are proud of what they do and the role they play in the success of this community. We value the trust our patients and families place in KershawHealth, and care about each and every one of you. Above all, we want the opportunity to continue to provide care to those who need it.

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