Founded in 1888 with just 12 beds, Hackensack University Medical Center was Bergen County’s first hospital. It is now the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey. This growth is founded on an exceptional record of quality. At HackensackUMC, we don’t just receive top grades from the most respected evaluators in healthcare; we receive top grades year after year, even as standards become increasingly rigorous. This is a tribute to our staff, who refuse to become complacent and strive each year to go beyond to deliver more comprehensive and more advanced care to the communities we serve:
This past year we witnessed the explosion of the Ebola virus outbreak; the largest epidemic in history. Healthcare teams around the world joined together to learn from each other to combat this deadly disease. The expertise and professionalism exemplified by HackensackUMC led Governor Chris Christie and New Jersey Commissioner of Health Mary O’Dowd to designate HackensackUMC as a Tier 2 hospital for Ebola treatment, making it one of just three hospitals in the state certified to receive patients with Ebola.
From the moment it reached our nation, HackensackUHN and HackensackUMC took a proactive approach to educating our team members, affiliates, patients and greater community on symptoms and available resources. Our Ebola preparedness team, led by Dr. Joseph Feldman, was in constant contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH). A dedicated Ebola email address and internal website were created, and Town Hall Meetings were held to keep all of our team members updated on the latest developments.
The CDC sent a team of specialists to HackensackUMC to provide technical assistance in preparation efforts. During the height of the crisis, we also proactively hosted a team of U.S. Army medics who were part of the Army North Homeland Security Vibrant Response Mission. In early 2015, members from the CDC, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the DOH conducted a successful site visit at HackensackUMC to assess our state of readiness. The representatives from the CDC felt we were prepared to be a treatment facility.
Putting all of our preparation efforts to the test, on January 19, 2015, a sick airline passenger who recently traveled to an Ebola-affected country was transferred to HackensackUMC from Newark Liberty International Airport. In an abundance of caution, the patient was kept overnight for further evaluation. Fortunately, the patient did not have Ebola and was released from the hospital. We were exceptionally proud of our team – seamlessly applying their training to a real-world situation.
One reason HackensackUMC was designated a Tier 2 hospital for Ebola treatment is our demonstrated capacity to respond to the most complex medical emergencies. At the heart of this effort is our outstanding team of emergency providers in our Emergency Trauma Center (ETC). This year, we completed the first two phases of our ETC expansion project, adding nearly 20,000 square feet to the facility. The new addition includes 29 private patient rooms complete with storage and sliding glass doors, five state-of-the-art trauma bays; a Cardiac Emergency Department; Susan’s Suite, (Oncology Emergency Department); a front-door presence for the Pediatric Emergency Department; a larger decontamination shower; and a private EMS lounge to provide refreshments. When complete, there will be 75 treatment beds, as well as a Geriatric Specialty Care area. Our goal is to increase our capacity to provide timely effective treatment for a broader range of emergencies.
At the same time, the Affordable Care Act, with its emphasis on population health management, has encouraged us to focus on preventing emergencies. One way we are doing this is through our new community health center—HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness Powered by the Giants. By combining our knowledge of healthy living and the New York Giant’s expertise in fitness, we have created a comprehensive platform designed to help people of all ages and fitness levels achieve their health and wellness goals comfortably and safely. This dynamic 112,000-square-foot center offers everything to get and keep the community well, and is one of the largest of its kind in New Jersey.
In all our facilities, new and old, we are adopting practices that reduce energy consumption and preserve the environment. Together with the Deidre Imus Environmental Health Center,™ we were honored this year when Practice Greenhealth named HackensackUMC a 2014 Environmental Excellence Award winner. This honor places HackensackUMC in the company of the top 25 green hospitals in the country. We were also pleased to receive the NJBIA Award for Excellence in Environmental Quality.
At HackensackUMC, we pride ourselves in being among the first to adopt new therapies that benefit our patients. An example of this is bronchial thermoplasty (BT), a new procedure for treating severe asthma in adults. BT uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
We are also quick to capitalize on new applications of technology. With the support of the Verizon Foundation, the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital launched a pilot study that uses a suite of smartphone applications (apps) to improve the health of children with Type 1 diabetes. It includes a Go Meals app, which helps patients count calories and carbohydrates, and a Diabetes Pal app, that uploads their Telcare Glucometer readings so physicians can monitor their conditions more closely.
HackensackUMC is also on the cutting edge of mobile technology with the Epic MyChart app. Found in the Apple app Store, the MyChart app allows the patient direct access to test results, prescription information and requests, managing appointments and communication with primary care physicians. Recently, the MyChart app included a synchronization with the Apple’s Health app. HackensackUMC has enabled the Track my Health section, where patients can sync their MyChart app with their activity trackers and health devices — such as blood pressure cuffs, scales, blood glucose monitors, FitBit activity trackers — using the Apple Health app as the intermediary. HackensackUMC IT Department and Hackensack University Medical Group physicians are also giving feedback to Epic and helping to further develop the app for use nationwide. We are one of the few, if not only, who have enabled the crossover with Apple Health and the activity trackers and other medical devices.
Because of innovations like these, as well as our efforts this year to introduce Epic electronic medical records to our physician practices, that the website, Top Masters in Healthcare Administration, ranked HackensackUMC as one of the 30 Most Technologically Advanced Hospitals in the World. We were also listed as a Most Wired Hospital by Hospitals & Health Networks.
With lives in the balance, we are not content to wait for others to introduce more effective therapies. Physicians throughout HackensackUMC are conducting research that will hasten the day that new, more effective treatments are available at the bedside. For example, researchers at John Theurer Cancer Center have joined forces with colleagues at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center to form the Regional Immunotherapy Discovery Program. Their goal is to accelerate the adoption of cancer treatments that combine two potent strategies: immunotherapy and bone marrow stem cell transplantation.
To take another example, physicians at the Institute of Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital took part in a 25-site clinical trial of children with severe combined immunodeficiency, a group of rare genetic disorders that includes the one that affected the famous “boy in the bubble.” They demonstrated the value of early stem cell transplantation as a way to cure this disease, allowing these children to pursue normal lives.
Our research team at the David and Alice Jurist Research participated in 645 trials this year and remained the state’s largest recipient of funding from the National Institutes of Health.
At HackensackUMC, we believe the most effective hospitals are part of the everyday fabric of the communities they serve, rather than simply a place people go when they are injured or sick. One of the ways we participate in the life of our communities is through our support for local sports teams and sporting events. Hackensack University Health Network was selected by the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee as one of three Official Health Services Providers for the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.
With a focus on our youth, the Snowflake Youth Foundation, the charitable arm of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, distributed a $1.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation last February to more than two dozen sites in New Jersey. The Healthy Futures Program at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC received a $100,000 grant, which has been used to support child-appropriate equipment and staff time at HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness Powered by the Giants. Healthy Futures is a medically supervised, comprehensive weight management program that addresses topics such as emotional and social eating, self-esteem, coping with social pressures, learning to make healthy food choices and exercise instruction with a certified exercise trainer for children ages eight through 18. The goal is to improve the physical and emotional well-being of participants in a fun and supportive atmosphere.
This dedication—not simply to public service but also to finding innovative ways to serve the public—distinguishes the men and women who have made HackensackUMC their life’s work. It is thanks to their efforts that HackensackUMC is well on its way to embodying the new vision of healthcare our nation requires.