January of 2017 ushered in a new era of change for Iroquois Memorial Hospital. A new Chief Executive Officer was appointed to lead IMH into the future. With so many advancements in medicine and the world of healthcare, it was time to throw out the saying “This is how we have always done it.” The IMH Board of Trustees felt that Tim Smith was just the man for the job. Since Tim’s appointment as CEO on January 26th, 2017, we have taken leaps and bounds forward. We are no longer tiptoeing into the future, we are running full speed ahead.
January 2017: The New CEO
Tim was born at Iroquois Memorial Hospital, raised in Watseka, and graduated from Watseka High School. He went on to attend college at Kankakee Community College and Olivet Nazarene University. To say that Tim is a native to the area, is an understatement. He began his career at IMH in 1995 as an x-ray technologist. Over time, he worked his way up to Director of Medical Imaging, Laboratory, Cardiac Rehab, and Specialty Clinic. When the need arose, he added the role of Director of Information Technology (IT). Always willing to do what is necessary to benefit IMH and the patients we serve, he began providing his experience in higher leadership roles. Titles of Chief Information Officer and Chief Operating Officer were stepping stones that lead him to the role of CEO.
March 2017: The changes begin
While it had not been officially announced, IMH had already begun separating from from our independent partnership with Presence Health. On March 1st, the announcement became official with the unveiling of our new IMH logo. The new logo also helped to usher in our new focus. IMH has been and will always be committed to providing excellent and high quality care to all who need it. However, in the era of virtual medicine, our scope needed to expand. We put into motion a focus centered more on early detection and preventative medicine. By providing affordable wellness screenings and health information, we can work toward keeping people well. Major focus was also placed in an area that can often be overlooked. Many practices were implemented to ensure every person has the best possible experience. Customer satisfaction and patient happiness are very high on the list of priorities for IMH.
June 2017: A step in the right direction
Under directives from Tim and the Executive Team, many employees began working more diligently to improve the presence of IMH in our community. In addition to our involvement with many of the area parades, we hosted the first annual IMH Community Picnic. Over 350 people came to enjoy the entertainment, refreshments, and fun! Meanwhile, our clinic computer system got a face lift. The system we were using had been implemented over 15 years ago and was no longer serving our patients needs the way it should. After research and review, we took a leap of faith and with staff support each of the four IMH satellite clinics began the transition. The new system, Athena, allows patients more control over their healthcare needs through use of the patient portal.
September 2017: Major Renovations
With the success of the Athena implementation in the clinics, the next step was the much larger and more daunting task of bringing the hospital up to speed. Countless meetings and hours were put in by many staff, behind the scenes, to make the transition as smooth as possible. There were many days that Tim and the entire Executive Team spent time simply rounding the hospital, providing refreshments for employees, listening to the feedback from employees and patients alike, and resolving issues as needed. Then, not only did we implement a new computer system, we updated some of our major equipment as well! New technology is vital to providing the best possible care for our patients. A new IMH ambulance, lab analyzer, 3D mammography, and a more advanced 160 slice CT scanner were all part of the plan to move IMH into the future of medicine.
January 2018: Looking forward
In an interview with Tim, he said that the most important focus for IMH in 2018 and going forward will be customer service and satisfaction. We want each person to know that, while they may be going through a stressful time, we are here to help and they are the most important person at any given time. In line with that vision, we are also “pulling our tentacles in”. In the past, we have attempted to provide every facet of care possible. Under the new leadership, we are realizing that, as a small rural hospital, we are simply not big enough to fully support each individual specialty. Therefore, our sole focus is migrating to primary care. We have partnered with local larger hospitals to be the stepping stone for any specialty care that we don’t have the depth to provide. We want to be the first stop in your path to wellness. In correlation with last year’s equipment upgrades, we are continuing the trend with goals to replace our IV pumps, upgrade our telemetry monitoring systems, and purchase another new ambulance! Last, but certainly not least, with the addition of a sous chef, we have launched a catering service line from our Food Services Department. New Leaf Catering is now accepting orders!!
While many of these past, present, and future improvements and successes are notable under the direction of Tim and the Executive Team, none of them would have been possible without the support and dedication of the over 350 employees that have followed their lead. Tim closed his interview with this statement, “One of my favorite quotes is from the late Maya Angelou, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I actually have this hanging on the door to my office and it is our goal to make sure that all of our patients remember how we have made them feel!” Nothing in the world is accomplished without passion. With passion and vision pulling us forward and the support of the IMH family, the future of IMH is becoming brighter and brighter.