Get to know Karen Lambert, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital President
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital President Karen Lambert has lived in Barrington with her family for the past 13 years, following her parents who moved to the area in 1981. Lambert shared her enthusiasm for the "family-oriented community" with Barrington Suburban Life Reporter Tarah Thorne, and shedded some light on the hospital's latest update project.
Thorne: What drew you to this community?
Lambert: I knew that Barrington would be a great place to raise a family. We enjoy the natural beauty of the area and have made very good friends in the community.
Thorne: When did you begin your position at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital? What previous health care experience did you bring with you?
Lambert: I started at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital as the vice president of operations in March 2000 and was named president in May 2001. Prior to that, I spent 15 years in various management capacities at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. I feel blessed to work for a hospital system such as Advocate, where they put patients first and lead with their mission. In fact, Advocate Health Care has repeatedly been ranked as one of the top employers in the area and was recently named a top 5 health system.
Thorne: Please describe a day in your shoes.
Lambert: What I enjoy most about my job is that every day can be different. Every day, seven days a week, we start with a safety huddle with leaders from every part of hospital. We review any challenges, real or potential, over the last 24 hours and look ahead for the day. Our goal is to create the safest and best place for patients to heal, physicians to practice and associates to work. I follow that mantra every day as I attend many meetings to review clinical and service metrics and to plan for the future.
Thorne: How have you seen the hospital advance? What has been most rewarding?
Lambert: Over the nearly 15 years I have been at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, I have seen the clinical care and outcomes greatly improve, allowing our residents to have high quality healthcare right in their local community. Over the last several years, we have increased our clinical offerings to include an open heart program, stroke program and increasing the many clinical options for our oncology services. We continue to work hard to improve care each and every day. We are grateful for our recent Magnet designation which recognizes the hospital and our talented associates and physicians for providing high quality healthcare to our community.
Thorne: What has been most challenging?
Lambert: The Affordable Care Act’s goal is to improve access to high quality care for more Americans and to make health care more affordable. Traditional reimbursement on a fee for service basis is being replaced for reimbursement for value. We have already seen this change with Medicare-where reimbursement is higher or lower depending on patient satisfaction scores and quality metrics. Providing the safest and highest quality care to our patients will continue to be our focus.
Thorne: When can residents expect the hospital update project to be complete?
Lambert: The entire campus modernization project will be complete in 2017 but the hospital will remain open and completely functional during the entire project. The very first area to be finished first is our new diagnostic testing center. What this means for our patients is easy access: patients can sit in one department and have all the clinicians come to them instead of visiting up to three or four areas of the hospital.
In working closely with our physicians and associates, we have been able to truly create the operating room of the future with enhanced technology and space. We will have eight brand new operating rooms with advanced imaging equipment. The project also includes a new 18 bed Intensive Care Unit.
Once the project is completed, we will have state-of-the-art private rooms for all patients-providing a quiet and calmer healing environment to help patients return home quickly and have the best experience possible. These large private rooms feature a family area which allow family members to stay the night. The new rooms will also include smart room technology – bringing all documentation (patient information/care) to the bedside which will give nurses and physicians more time in the room with the patient.
The project also modernizes many other clinical services such as radiology co-locating all imaging services, endoscopy and therapies. Many areas of infrastructure will be modernized including an expanded dining area, volunteer department, and lobby to name just a few.
The modernization project is built for long-term durability of infrastructure and systems including upgrading systems covering the current and new buildings, renovating and relocating current services, limiting redundancy and improving energy efficiency using LEED guidelines.
Thorne: In your opinion, why is the hospital in great need of an update?
Lambert: Our vision at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital is to deliver exceptional community health care. In order to do that, we need to modernize our current hospital campus. We have proudly served this community for more than 30 years and we want to ensure that care delivery remains outstanding and attuned to the needs of the community for generations to come. We are modernizing to improve the patient care experience by enhancing privacy, offering the most advanced technology and making it more convenient to access inpatient and outpatient services. The licensed bed count will increase slightly from 169 to 176 with the additional beds all in the Intensive Care Unit and eight new operating rooms with increased capacity.
Thorne: What do you do outside of work? Any favorite hobbies?
Lambert: My husband Jack and I are very busy with our three children. My oldest son is now in college and our two daughters are both in high school. They play Lacrosse and are busy with other community activities. I love a busy house with kids and their friends. I try to work out as often as I can. I also enjoy cooking, tennis and the gardening season has just started. We are a family that likes to travel and we are blessed to be able to do that.
Thorne: Any specific goals for the future?
Lambert: We will continue our journey to provide the best and safest care for the communities we serve. By enhancing privacy, promoting innovation and increasing innovation, our campus modernization project will help ensure that care delivery remains outstanding and attuned to the evolving needs of our community for years to come.