Advances in technology increase access to care for South Florida hospital systems.
Greater Fort Lauderdale residents have their choice of practices and services when it comes to their health care preferences. And two of the region’s largest systems have expansive networks close to home.
One of the largest public health systems in the nation, Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) includes the flagship facility Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, FL, which houses the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute, Memorial Cancer Institute and Memorial Neuroscience Institute.
The system’s other hospitals are Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at Memorial, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar and Memorial Hospital Pembroke.
Broward Health has over 30 locations in the region, including a Level I trauma center, an award-winning children’s hospital, a joint replacement center and a network of community health care centers, to name a few.
Technology Powers Enhanced Care
New technology further enhances these offerings in Greater Fort Lauderdale. In December 2020, Broward Health Medical Center launched a kidney transplant program to further expand the South Florida Transplant Center.
In April 2021, Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale announced it was establishing a robotic electrophysiology program to expand access to advanced minimally invasive treatment of heart rhythm disorders.
“Broward Health Medical Center will be the only hospital in South Florida offering robotic technology to treat patients suffering from arrhythmias,” says Heather Havericak, CEO of Broward Health Medical Center and Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital.
Top-Notch Pediatric Care
MHS’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital nabbed top spots on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals ranking in both orthopedics and cardiology and heart surgery categories.
Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital completed a $52 million expansion of its neonatal intensive care unit. The major expansion features 70 private bed units where families can stay overnight.
With an increased number of patients crossing county lines seeking medical attention, Memorial Hospital Miramar, a 178-bed facility that includes a Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Level II neonatal intensive care unit, is expanding. The hospital will soon open a 130,000-square-foot medical pavilion to deliver health care services in southwest Broward and northwest Miami-Dade counties.
In Hollywood, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is doubling its size to eight floors and more than 300,000 square feet. A Level I trauma center, it combines advanced technology and the expertise of board-certified specialists with a patient- and family-centered approach to care.
Telehealth Options Expand Health Care Access
As with care providers across the country, health systems in Greater Fort Lauderdale were forced to pivot during the pandemic. The importance of immediate community health access came to the forefront, but it also provided hospital systems with opportunities to refine and expand practices.
“In less than 24 hours, we were able to utilize local partners to erect tents to prescreen incoming patients for COVID,” Havericak says. “Our local vendors also helped us convert entire hospital wings into negative pressure units to help ensure no cross-contamination between COVID units and other areas caring for patients unrelated to the virus.”
MHS recently opened Memorial Primary Care Long Haulers Clinic to treat those suffering from long-term effects caused by acute COVID-19. Melida Akiti, ambulatory program and community services vice president, says the clinic was created to fill a need in the community.
“The Memorial multidisciplinary team has come together to make sure that these lasting side effects are addressed, so they are able to resume life in a post-pandemic era,” she says.
MHS is investing heavily in its digital strategy to advance the patient experience, introducing innovative solutions, including virtual/telehealth visits, remote patient monitoring and a patient portal known as MyChart that allows patients to directly message their physicians and have access to their medications. MHS also features the state-of-the-art Philips Picture Archival and Communication System (PACS) to serve advanced imaging medical needs.
“Perhaps the most important change that will remain for years to come is telehealth and the use of tablets for patients with COVID-19 to communicate with their care team and with their families,” says Jeff Sturman, senior vice president and chief digital officer at Memorial Healthcare System/South Broward Hospital District. “We have had more than 250,000 telehealth appointments since the start of the pandemic. We expect telehealth to remain in place and become a dominant method for primary care and behavioral health-related visits.”