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Continuing Education Dept. to Help Medical Center

By Sherry Kughn
News Bureau

March 17, 2004 --
When Jacksonville Medical Center (JMC) decided to improve their customer service they recently looked to Jacksonville State University's Continuing Education Department for help. The joint discussions led to the creation of Partners in Service Excellence, a program that will eventually train JMC's 57 department managers in the areas of time management, software skills improvement, and human resources skills.

"We chose JSU's Contining Education Department because we had already been engaging in partnership building with them," said Vikki Floyd, JMC's director of marketing and public relations. "We are lucky to have JSU so close, because they have the expertise we need."

The management team of the new JMC attended a seminar on Friday, March 12, entitled "Understanding Self and Others to Enhance a Productive Environment." This was the first of many activities planned as a result of result of the project, said Belinda Blackburn, assistant director of JSU's Continuing Education Department. She served as a liaison between JMC and JSU.

"Everyone went away from the meeting with a new perspective," said Blackburn. "They seemed excited about how best to enhance their work environment by interacting more productively with their co-workers."

JSU's Continuing Education Department seeks to help other companies in the training of employees. "We're glad to partner with someone right here in this community," said Blackburn. "We think that they (JMC) are an under-utilized resource. We would love to see the community take advantage of this great medical center right here in our backyard, and we're happy to have a part in helping them achievement their goals."

JMC has been involved in a long term effort to be considered the first place community members think of in terms of health care, said Jodi Beauregard, the hospital's CEO and administrator.

Three years ago the hospital's parent company, Triad Hospitals, of Dallas, surveyed the community for their opinions of the old hospital. In the survey, reported in 2002, the concerns were that the building needed an update, that technology was outdated, and that more doctors who were specialists were needed. Since that survey JMC has added a new emergency room and $3.2 million in other renovations. Seven new physicians with various specialties have been added, and more than $3 million in improvements have been made in technology.

Beauregard is proud of the report from the latest community survey taken last year. The results showed patient satisfaction as high. "That doesn't just happen on its own," she said.

JMC's staff is not content, though, with past improvements. Floyd said they want to excel in customer satisfaction, such as in the amount of time their staff spends with patients and the patient's families. That's where JSU Continuing Education Department comes in, said both Floyd and Beauregard.

"We feel JSU has the expertise in taking us to that next level," said Beauregard.

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