Candidates address hospital technology needs
Editor’s note: This is the first of three parts as the SVDH board candidates look at the hospital’s current and future health needs.
Candidates for one of the most popular local races, the Sierra View Local Health Care District, appear to agree on the direction the hospital is heading in reference to technology.
The challengers, Mark Fazzone, Dr. Gaurang Pandya, Dr. Rakesh Jindal and Dr. Jasvir Sidhu, are looking to unseat a hospital incumbent — Martha A. Flores, Brent Gill and Richard Hatfield — in the Tulare County General Election Nov. 6 race. And as they head to the final stretch of the race, the candidates talked about the hospital’s future in technology.
Each candidate was asked to respond, and limited to 40 words, on what they believed were areas of technology the hospital should address.
Flores stated technology is definitely not static and that one area to investigate is communication to the community through an informational web site.
“The hospital will need to monitor and address numerous areas, such as the interfacing of patient, physician, hospital and medical records, and the continual upgrading of medical equipment technology,” Flores said.
Gill agreed, saying every doctor’s practice should easily and smoothly communicate with the hospital’s computer system.
“Recent staff changes should facilitate this implementation,” Hatfield said. “Though technology opens many innovative doors for health care delivery, decisions must always reflect practicality and fiscal responsibility.”
Hatfield talked about the hospital’s continual evaluation of new technology and services which could be offered, including PET Scanning for the presence of cancer cells, developing a Wound Care Center to treat complicated wounds, and performing Microscopic Spine Surgery, which only requires a 24-hour hospital stay.
When it comes to it addressing the concerns and needs of the community, technology is too big to sum into a few words, Fazzone said.
“I believe we need to partner not only with the local physicians but also the patient, the end user of the hospital services,” he said. “There is need to upgrade our women’s health services and technology options.”
Jindal addressed the need to build bridges with all local providers, updating the health information system, and attracting additional physicians and specialty groups, including neuro/spine surgery, gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynecologists, orthopedics and urologists, to the community.
“We also need to reach out to the community for preventive health, medical education and encourage youth to pursue careers in health care,” Jindal said.
Current federal government direction has health care in the midst of a major transition into electronic medical records for hospitals and physicians’ offices, Sidhu said, but successful implementation of the technology will only occur with complete collaboration between the hospital and local physicians.
But technology in itself is not enough, Pandya pointed out.
“Technology is as good as the people using it. Therefore, the hospital needs to invest in training and education,” Pandya said.
Part II will look at urgent health care in the community and rural health clinics and Part III will look at the cardiac lab proposal.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.