Chapter four: Thinking ahead pays off as service, reputation grows
Salem Health has always put its community’s health care first by thinking ahead. By the end of last century, we were attracting the best — physicians, staff, equipment, and major additions such as the Family Birth Center.
Awards started rolling in (and continue each year), putting us on the map as a top hospital, not only regionally, but nationally.
With surgery techniques becoming less invasive (before 1990, removing a gall bladder was major surgery; now it’s day-surgery) we built the Outpatient Surgery Center (now Building C) in 2000. Leaders were also thinking ahead as our population grew, by purchasing land — and another hospital in Dallas.
At the close of the 20th century, we were on our way to reaching two major goals: providing clinical quality second to none, and enhancing programs, technologies, facilities and community partnerships. We had a strong fundraising Foundation, and an army of volunteers.
We realized the need for preventive health care and meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse population. And, an aging one, with more chronic, critical-care needs. So we built what was to be a crown jewel — the Building A tower.
And we invested in preventive care and wellness through the Community Health Education Center to provide free health information, support groups, inexpensive (or free) classes — even a “wellness kitchen” to teach nutrition.
Salem Hospital joined the revolution of electronic medical records (EMR) by purchasing Epic in 2006, placing it in the top 5% of Oregon’s hospitals using EMR. Epic put health data in our hands in seconds. Then in 2010, providers began entering their medical orders electronically through CPOM (computerized provider order management), eliminating hand-written orders.
Key dates and events:
2000 — Salem population 136,924
2001 — Center for Outpatient Medicine (Building C) opens
2002 — Valley Community Hospital bought, becomes West Valley Hospital
2003 — Family Birth Center (Building D) opens
2003 — New Emergency Room opens as part of Building B
2005 — Hospitalists began 24-hour physician coverage for inpatients
2007 — We earn the first of six prestigious Beacon Awards given in next few years for critical care
2009 — Critical Care Tower (Building A) opens with helipad.