By Kyle LoJacono
Doug Duffield was only at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills for seven months, but his leadership won him the position of hospital CEO and president Sept. 2.
“It was a great honor to be named CEO and president of Florida Hospital Zephyrhills,” Duffield said. “It’s a beautiful area with great people. I love working and living here in east Pasco.”
Duffield, 41, was named to the position after the facility’s previous leader, John Harding, was named CEO of the new Florida Hospital Tampa Bay Region formed after the merger of the Adventist Health System (AHS) and University Community Health (UCH) Sept. 1.
After learning of Duffield’s new position, Harding said, “Doug has proven that he has the leadership skills, the vision and the sense of mission that will enable Florida Hospital Zephyrhills to continue on its journey to provide the most comprehensive and compassionate healthcare services to our patients and the communities we serve.”
The merger of AHS and UCH has Duffield thrilled about the possibilities for the people of the Tampa Bay area.
“I think it’s very exciting to see that UCH has merged with AHS and I think that’s going to create a lot of synergy throughout this region,” Duffield said. “As Wesley Chapel Medical Center is built, I see some very interesting collaboration that’s going to be able to take place. However, my role is with this hospital, so my commitment is 100 percent to this community in east Pasco.
“As I look out I look at how do we align relationships with the community physicians and I see us seeing how we can expand services so that patients don’t have to leave Zephyrhills for higher levels of care,” Duffield continued. “I think we’ve earned the trust of our patients because they can get the same patient experience of any other medical center.”
Duffield lives in San Antonio and started at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills in January. He most recently worked at the AHS-owned Sonora Regional Medical Center in California. Before that he was in Africa at the Maluti Adventist Hospital in Lesotho, where he worked with doctors to track the HIV virus while starting a computer training school.
“In Africa we were working with people who had never seen a calculator before,” Duffield said. “It was very different from here where we have so much technology. We were able to help them get better equipped to follow the AIDS pandemic while giving them some of the tools to better their access to healthcare.”
Duffield started his career as a technology consultant and helped launch several of Microsoft’s Internet-based services, including MSN, Expedia and City Search. He also worked with Intel Corporation’s supercomputing division. He said healthcare was becoming a larger part of his career with technology, which moved him toward his current profession.
Duffield said his position in Sonora had a similar clientele as Zephyrhills because that hospital is not in a major city and is an area where many people from central California go when they retire. However, the seasonality of Zephyrhills residents is a different challenge.
“In Sonora we talked about the winter increase in patients because of having more respiratory diseases, while here it’s because a lot of the people come for the winter,” Duffield said. “It causes its own challenges with staffing, but the hospital has been around for 25 years and everyone here has a lot of experience dealing with those challenges.”
Duffield said the two main things he is focusing on are keeping the commitment to excellent care and looking for ways to be more efficient.
“When someone first walks into the hospital they’ve already spoken to four or five people and by the time they’ve left they’ve been with 50 people from the doctors, staff and volunteers,” Duffield said. “We need to make sure everyone is committed to providing excellent care from making patients feel comfortable to providing the best medicine and treatment.
“When I talk about efficient I don’t mean limiting care in any way,” Duffield continued. “It’s more about taking the waste out of the system. Our goal is to create no-wait clinics. People expect to spend hours when they go to a doctor now. We’ve seen that it’s possible to cut that time not by reducing time spent with the doctors, but by having them pre-signed in, getting their weight, blood pressure and other things checked by a nurse and then go right in to the doctor.”
Duffield was born in Portland, Ore. and graduated from Walla Walla University. He has been married to Melanie Duffield for 10 years and the couple has two daughters — Taylor, 8, and Sienna, 5.
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