Tripler commander answers questions about hospital

| May 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

Graduate Health Education students celebrate their achievement at a graduation ceremony held at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, recently.

Tripler Army Medical Center

Public Affairs
HONOLULU — Tripler Army Medical Center serves more than 187,000 eligible service members, beneficiaries, veterans and retirees.

In a typical day at TAMC, the more than 4,000 member staff performs 1,970 clinic visits, 3,350 lab procedures, fills 1,800 prescriptions and performs 26 surgical procedures.

It has been nearly a year since Col. Andrew M. Barr took command, so we sat down with him to get an update on the progress TAMC has made.

Q: What were the hospital’s main accomplishments in the past year?
The major one for us was Joint Commission, which is the hospital’s accreditation. When I got here in July, the hospital was well underway with planning for that, which is a huge amount of work for the entire organization as we maintain accreditation.

In 20 years in the military, I have gone through three or four of these. This is by far the best one I have gone through.

The surveyors that came through kept commenting on the communication, the collaboration and the processes that we have in place to maintain high quality and safe health care. They were very laudatory in their remarks about the services we provide here, so I am very proud of that.

Q: What improvements have been made to the hospital to better patient care?
Renovations are a major improvement to our facility. We are in one of the older medical treatment facilities in the military, and the work that our maintenance crews do to maintain the building and keep it in shape to take care of patients is phenomenal.

We have numerous renovations going on in our Adult Intensive Care Unit and inpatient wards, and we recently completed renovations on our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. All of these projects and the continued support of our facilities and maintenance staff support the excellent health care TAMC provides daily.

Q: What is special about TAMC that you believe the community is not aware of?
The easy answer is that TAMC is not pink, it’s coral rose, but really, we are one of the largest employers on Oahu, so we have TAMC staff that are not in the military.

In fact, more than half of our employees are civilian employees who live and work here on the island and actually many are from Hawaii. We really are part of the community we take care of, and that’s a great part of being here at TAMC.

Q: Besides care at TAMC, what other care does TAMC provide throughout the Pacific?
What we do for the Pacific is really provide manpower and subject matter expertise, from a readiness perspective, to U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Army Pacific. We do that globally by providing, doctors, nurses and medics and other medical professionals that deploy globally to provide care to a number of locations.

From a training perspective, we provide support to key training operations throughout the Pacific.

We also support USPACOM and USARPAC through Global Health Engagements by providing subject matter experts to our partner nations, and we help build medical and military capability and capacity with our partners inside the Pacific Rim.

Q: Considering that TAMC has introduced such things as valet parking and room service, what is your next initiative to improve the patient experience?
I think the answer everyone wants to hear is WiFi throughout the hospital … and it is coming! We have a good plan in place as we continue to look at the information technology and contracting requirements of getting it setup. We are hoping to have it in full force by summer 2018, and we are looking to begin rolling that out this fall. I think that will be a huge satisfier as we get a lot of feedback from patients regarding WiFi.

Q: What are your main focuses for the next year?
One thing that we will be working on in the near future is increasing our medical capabilities by becoming a level two trauma center. This will increase what level of care we can provide in the hospital, which means being able to treat more of our DoD beneficiaries that normally would have to be sent to another local medical facility for specialized care.

This is great for our military community, but for our local community, as well, as it is an additional asset here on Oahu that will save lives and decrease suffering. For our staff internally, it allows us to broaden our scope and allow us to practice our full scope of care, as well as providing the lifesaving skills that our doctors, nurses and support staff need to be able to practice their mission down range when they are deployed.

TAMC has made significant strides in building high functioning, multi-disciplinary teams that allow us to maintain the high standards of patient care that we provide. We will continue to focus on safe, high-quality patient care, improving access to the care, improving patient and staff satisfaction and engagement, service to our patients and their families, and ensuring the readiness of our nation’s military forces.

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Category: Health

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