By Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health
We were blessed with a gloriously pleasant day for our 100th anniversary press conference, which was held in the garden of the Little Rock campus on June 22. The week before the event, the temperatures were much higher along with high humidity levels—the kind of sticky summer days we expect in Arkansas.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to work in the old hospital building downtown before they added central air conditioning? The July 1955 newsletter heralded the coming of central air with a front-page article that declared, “The switch was thrown on the new air conditioning system at ABH June 9 and the grim prospect of another summer of withering heat was abruptly over. It was a momentous occasion for the ABH staff and patients….”
Longtime nurse Georgia Seward remembers going with her parents to visit people at the hospital when she was a young child during the late 1930s. Back then, patients could feed coins into an oscillating fan unit to cool their rooms, and Seward says her family would take pennies to the patients to pay for the fan.
Improving patient comfort has taken a lot of different forms through the years as the hospital moved from open wards to semi-private rooms and then to private rooms. And in 1969, we added a “high tech” improvement—a remote control console built into a rolling night stand that let patients control radio and TV stations, reading and room lights, and the curtains. It also included a call system that let the nurses check on the patient from the nurses’ station.
We take things like air conditioning and electronic controls for granted today, but they were wonderfully innovative back then.
Baptist Health continues to invest in new technology and other ways to improve the patient experience. As our scope has expanded beyond the acute-care setting, we’ve looked at ways to improve the patient’s experience no matter which point of access they choose—things like our investment in the EPIC patient-record system, which is the backbone of our continuum of care, and the myBaptistHealth app that allows you to easily make and manage appointments, access test results, and a wide variety of other things.
My pledge to you, however, is that as we embrace more and more technology-based improvements and solutions, we will never lose sight of the human element—the compassion of our caregivers, the concern for your health, and the commitment to changing lives through better health.
The State of Care blog by Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health, is typically published once a month at Baptist-Health.com. Learn more about Baptist Health’s 100th anniversary by visiting BaptistHealth100.com.