2017-09-07 / Business News

Larry Antonucci, M.D.

Lee Health president and CEO


Larry Antonucci Larry Antonucci Changing with the times to provide stellar health care

WHO AM I?

NAME: Larry Antonucci, M.D, MBA

TITLE AND COMPANY: President and CEO, Lee Health

YEARS WITH THE COMPANY: 13

YEARS IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA: 34

NATURE OF BUSINESS: Health care

EDUCATION: Master of business administration, University of South Florida; College of Business Administration, Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine; Resident, Obstetrics and Gynecology Doctor of Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine

What is the most significant change you’ve seen in your industry over the last year?

The health care environment is changing rapidly throughout the U.S., and Lee Health is part of that transformation. One of the most visible changes this past year is our new name. Lee Memorial Health System officially marked its 100th anniversary last October and began a new century of caring as Lee Health. The new identity reflects the future direction of health care delivery, which is moving away from a provider of episodic care to partnering with the community and individuals to live a healthy life. Lee Health is taking a more proactive role in shaping, supporting and inspiring our community’s health and well-being.

How are you responding to changes in the local economy?

In its role as the leading provider of health care in Lee County, Lee Health must be responsive to the demand for health services as the community grows. Over the next ten years, we will invest more than $1 billion in capital projects in our community. We have a number of different projects underway, but the two most prominent are Lee Health Coconut Point, an innovative outpatient facility in the Estero/Bonita Springs area that will include a freestanding emergency department among other services, and the expansion of Gulf Coast Medical Center, which will add 275 more beds.

What will you base your success on for 2018?

Well-run health systems typically use a scorecard tied to its strategic goals to measure how well it is meeting its objectives. A scorecard increases organizational focus on execution and results by measuring those things that truly matter. The Lee Health scorecard identifies key performance indicators in five strategic areas, with service, safety and quality being of particular importance. It is publicly available in the About Us section of our website at www.LeeHealth.org.

How are you using technology to improve your business?

Over the past six years, Lee Health has installed a new electronic medical record system called Epic which has transformed how we access patient information. It is impossible to share all the ways that Epic has led to better quality and safer care, but a few examples are reducing duplicate tests, alerts that warn of potential medication interactions, and ensuring important health screenings take place.

Telemedicine is another way technology is improving how we provide care. The growing use of smart phones and tablets, coupled with advances in encryption to protect personal health information is making telehealth an attractive option. Lee Health is using it in the treatment of stroke, behavioral health and palliative care, several pediatric subspecialties and to home monitor patients with certain chronic diseases. Telemedicine allows patients to be cared for in their own home, which is a major convenience and cost savings for them.

How are you growing and developing your employee skills?

In health care you are only as good as your employees, so Lee Health puts a tremendous amount of energy into furthering the skill set of our employees through training and education. We incentivize employees to continue to learn and grow and provide scholarships to pay for advanced education. In fact, it is so important to us that earlier this year our Board of Directors adopted education as one of Lee Health’s core values, along with respect, excellence and compassion. We are very pleased to have Lee Health ranked 29 out of 500 large companies included in Forbes magazine’s “America’s Best Employers 2017” list.

Can you tell us about a new hire who will make a positive impact this coming year?

We are adding a new position called Acute Care Medical Officer (ACMO) to our leadership team. Each of our hospitals will add this role, which is a physician who works in team leadership with our vice president of patient care services – the nursing leader at each hospital. Together the ACMO and the VP of patient care are jointly responsible for the overall quality of medical care at each hospital campus. We are adding this position to expand the role of physicians in our daily operations to improve clinical outcomes, patient experience and patient safety.

How do you find inspiration in today’s business climate?

When you work in an organization whose mission is to empower healthier lives through care and compassion, you don’t have to look far to find inspiration. Every day and every night thousands of employees work with purpose and enthusiasm to make a difference in the health of our patients. I spend some time each month working side by side in a variety of units and departments to stay in tune with daily operations and connect with our employees, an activity that continually inspires me.

Who is a mentor to you within your industry?

Jim Nathan, who recently stepped aside as president of Lee Health after more than 30 years at the helm, has been a mentor to me for many years. Jim embodies the concept of Caring People, Inspiring Health, and I am grateful for the opportunity to build on the legacy he has left for our health system and our community. ¦

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