Safeguarding Patients

May 07, 2020
The Florence Medical Center Radiation Oncology staff wearing masks.

"In the Chinese language, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity."

- John F. Kennedy

Over the last several months South Carolina has faced an enemy unlike any ever seen. This enemy has certainly changed our way of life and the constant updates of economic and health impact can be discouraging. Today, choose to focus instead on the positive experiences and opportunities offered by this new way of life.

As a father and husband, I choose to view the home quarantine as a blessing in disguise. More homecooked meals, boardgames, bedtime stories, and less hectic family schedules have improved our family dynamics. I am sure that when my 3 children (ages 4, 8, 10) reflect on this time it will be of fond memories spending more quality time with one another.

As Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at MUSC Health Florence Medical Center, I likewise choose to see the positives and the opportunities. This pandemic revealed that our team’s commitment to patient care is overshadowed only by our creativity and innovation. From day one of the pandemic, we implemented a system to minimize virus exposure by bringing patients in from the parking lot one at a time after screening by phone. Going well beyond just social distancing, our patients never have opportunity of waiting room exposures. Another example is wearing masks since the beginning. Wearing masks has since become an accepted and encouraged practice.

These are just some of the many wonderful solutions our team has engineered with patient safety as their new priority. Amazingly, these safety initiatives were created and implemented at a time of record treatment volume in our clinic. It is thrilling to see us pull together to overcome any challenge in patient safety and quality.

A welcome, yet unexpected outcome of these safety measures is improved efficiency in the patient experience. For example, we are scheduling patient procedures and visits for the same day to minimize exposure also quicken patient work-up and treatment. We also increased frequency of same day consults of patients being seen by referring physicians.

In the business world, it is known that by placing safety and quality first, everyone benefits. This is perhaps best illustrated by the rise of Alcoa in the late 80s-90s under the leadership of Paul O’Neill. Our personal experience is a wonderful reminder that we do best for ourselves when first doing well for others.

What I admire most about our team is that all this work was done without need for fanfare or recognition of any kind. It is done purely with the interest of safety and quality for our patients and staff. It is truly a privilege to work alongside this team in the service our patients!

At MUSC Health Florence Medical Center we are here to assure you that you do not have to compromise your health by delaying treatment due to concerns of virus exposure.

Call Dr. Wooten’s clinic to find out more about his cancer treatment services at 843-674-2470.