On the Pulse: Hospitals launching new online patient portals, more proactive social media marketing, new hires, and more

Lake Wales Medical Center has launched an online patient portal called My Health Home, giving patients secure access to their inpatient medical records from computers, tablets, and phones with Internet connections.

“With the portal, our patients have online access to their inpatient records within 36 hours after they are discharged,” says Annette Cox, the hospital’s Director of Health Information. “It’s a very useful tool, allowing them to see exactly what medications they were given, test results, discharge information, and other information they may need as they continue to recover and follow up with their physician.”

The portal can be accessed by going to the hospital’s website, www.lakewalesmedicalcenter.com, and clicking on My Health Home Patient Portal at the top. Registration for the portal is easy. While at the hospital, patients are given an opportunity to provide their email address. Hospital employees then set up a portal account and email the patient a link to finalize account setup. For patients who don’t use a computer, or who need assistance, access can be given to family members.

“The portal will make it easier for patients to access their records quickly, securely and conveniently,” Cox says. “And it gives them greater control over their health care by putting that information at their fingertips.” The portal excludes outpatient testing, including lab work and X-rays.

Meanwhile, Watson Clinic’s social media presence online is taking a more proactive approach to engage its followers. By liking the Lakeland-based Watson on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, followers receive health and wellness content and special features, such as Selfie Saturdays, where they see a more personal side to the doctors that make up the clinic’s medical team. There’s also Thursday Nutrition Tips, which include recipes and advice from certified dietitians.

In other community health news:


Holly Vida has been brought on board as the new director for The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Bartow Regional Medical Center. She recently served as Account Manager for Senior Home Care. Vida holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Florida Southern College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Leadership and Management at Webster University.


Two nurse practitioners have joined the ranks at the Winter Haven-based Bond Clinic. Heather Carter is working with Dr. Kenny Nguyen, a Polk County Medical Association member, in pediatrics and Cynthia Ritter is working with Dr. E.H. Willard in cardiology.


Dr. Tristan M. Harrison, a family practitioner, started at the Winter Haven-based Gessler Clinic July 1.


Jessica Deckard has been named director of the Intensive Care and Medical Care units. Other recent designations include Lori Mckinney, director of the Emergency Department; Nancy Kovencz, director of the Surgical Care Unit and Surgical Services; and Leslie Ashley, director of the Progressive Care and Transitional Care units. “All of these leaders have proven their commitment and passion for this hospital and its patients,” says Chief Nursing Officer Brittany Carson.

The hospital’s Wound Healing Center participated in National Wound Care Awareness Week June 2-6. Wound Center staff members visited area physician offices to help employees identify patients who may benefit from advanced wound care.

“There are many patients living with non-healing wounds who are unaware of treatments available right here in their local community,” says Tiffany Rodriguez, program director of The Wound Healing Center. “Our therapies can help heal wounds faster than traditional methods. We want to make advanced wound care available to all patients who would benefit, and we are continually working to educate the community about the services we offer.”

People with wounds that have not improved in four weeks may benefit from treatment from The Wound Healing Center.


Dr. Dexter M. Jain has joined Watson Clinic’s team of family medicine hospitalists serving inpatients during their stay at Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC). Dr. Jain spent eight years as a hospitalist at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, KY. A Polk County native, he graduated from St. Joseph’s School in Winter Haven and Santa Fe Catholic High School in Lakeland. He went on to receive his doctorate of osteopathic medicine from Nova Southeastern University of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, and completed his internship and residency in family medicine at Georgetown University/Providence Hospital in Washington, DC. Dr. Jain is board-certified in family medicine, and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, and the Polk County Medical Association (PCMA).

Drs. Alberto Maldonado and Andres Medina (a PCMA member) are offering minimally invasive heart procedures, including percutaneous transcatheter aortic valve replacement, mini valve repair, thoracic/lung procedures, and vascular surgery at LRMC. The hospital recently built a “hybrid” operating room to accommodate the unique type of surgeries these doctors perform. The heart surgeons, who practice exclusively at LRMC, receive referrals from throughout the region. They also manage diseases involving blood supply to the heart as well as treat various heart defects, perform bypass surgery, remove tumors, and fix vessel and valve abnormalities.

An advanced registered nurse practitioner, Danielle Bennett, has joined Watson Clinic’s Lakeland Highlands location. She offers a roster of services for patients who are ages two and up, including routine sick visits, well women care, and ongoing management for chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Bennett assists Drs. Fernando Loret de Mola, Jeremy Katzmann (a PCMA member), and Rony Alvarado, family medicine physicians.

The Watson Clinic Cancer Center has been presented the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award by the American College of Surgeons’ (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC). Known as the Center for Cancer Care and Research, the center is the only cancer facility in the state to receive this honor, and one of 74 U.S. health facilities with accredited cancer programs to receive the honor for surveys performed last year. The center at 1730 Lakeland Hills Boulevard in Lakeland also enjoys the distinction of being the only freestanding cancer center in the area to have achieved accreditation by the CoC. They’re also the only Polk County facility in the Moffitt Oncology Network.

Julie Bowne, lead/senior speech-language pathologist at the Bella Vista Building, has earned certification as a McNeill Dysphagia Therapy Program (MDTP) provider. An MDTP provider administers exercise-based therapies for swallowing disorders. Appointments are scheduled by physician referral only.

The clinic’s Program for Employee Excellence and Recognition (PEER) Award went to Elizabeth Lee, a licensed practical nurse in Dr. Sharon Fairbee’s Dermatology office at the Bella Vista Building, for May; and Brenda Taylor, an administrative assistant in Patient Financial Services, for June.

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