VALDOSTA — South Georgia Medical Center’s chief operations officer made a presentation to the Hospital Authority on Wednesday outlining the improvements and achievements the administration and staff made in 2005.

Randy Sauls attributes the hospital’s many accomplishments to an ongoing commitment of providing each patient and family with the best service and recovery atmosphere available.

In March of each year, the SGMC staff begins nine months of training and update orientation focusing on the hospital’s principals for providing quality service. The principals include customer contact and telephone manners, maintaining a professional image and positive behavior, and eliminating noise. The staff is also trained in producing a safe and welcoming environment, immediate service recovery, and being proactive and accountable. Administration and staff members have invested over 4,000 orientation hours this year.

Sauls believes that each absolute will provide patients with the best stay while at the hospital and promote recovery.

“Our first principal of customer contact is therapeutic to patients. We teach every employee these techniques of human touch, eye to eye contact and speaking with patients, and we’ve found that patients respond better to medications when these techniques are practiced,” he said.

SGMC is pleased about the addition of the new interpreter in a box system that allows staff to provide efficient service to non-English speaking patients. The interpreter converts over 60 foreign languages to SGMC health care providers and the hospital was the first in the nation to place the system into ambulances. “We use it everyday in the Emergency Room. Just this weekend we had a patient from the country of India with a sub-dialect of the region, and the interpreter was able to find that specific dialect. It’s amazing,” Dr. Howard Jones told the hospital board.

SGMC also uses the Deaf Talk Program technology that conveys the needs and messages of deaf patients through the use of video technology. The mobile unit allows communication to patients in 150 languages.

Throughout the year, the hospital has also undergone several aesthetic improvements to the front entrance, the lobby area, and completed renovations to the main medical floors. SGMC also continues to provide convenience services to patients through the expansion of its escort services, and implemented an outpatient concierge to get patients to the accurate location.

“It’s a long walk up and down that hill to the Pearlman Cancer Center, which can be very exhausting for our chemo patients, but we have a team of motivated volunteers that are available now to drive them back and forth,” Sauls said.

The administrators of SGMC plan to continue a standard of accountability in the upcoming year.

Each employee is reviewed on the nine customer service absolutes during standard performance evaluations.

The hospital authority also reviewed architectural plans for the new Emergency Room. The drawings displayed an updated building with a large, impressive high-ceiling with transparent front and side views. The area will contain front and rear waiting lobbies and two emergency patient waiting areas. Ambulances will enter the Emergency Room area through the Cowart Street entrance.

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