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The Heart of Our Hospitals

Diary of A Director General
By Prof. Ehud Kokia
Director General, Hadassah Medical Organization

A few days ago a team from the Ministry of Health came to Hadassah-Ein Kerem to evaluate our operating rooms; not just the physical facilities, but how well they function and how our surgical teams perform. We passed their rigorous standards with flying colors.

Of course, I was delighted, but not surprised. Earlier in the week when I visited the Department of Surgery at Mt. Scopus and the operating room complex at Ein Kerem, I saw for myself how excellent they are, how superb our teams are. In my conversations with Prof. Ahmed Eid, Head of Surgery at Mt. Scopus, and Prof. Charles Weissman, Head, Division of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Prof. Yoram Weiss, Head of the Department of Anesthesiology and Itzik Kara, Director of the Nursing Services’ Division of Surgery and Critical Care, I received an even broader picture, a most impressive picture.

Our operating rooms are the most advanced in Israel. At Hadassah, patients can undergo robotic surgery for a variety of ailments and computer-guided surgery to correct damaged limbs and remove blood clots that cause strokes. We are proud to have introduced some of these techniques to Israel; and in the case of computer-guided hip replacement surgery, to the world.

The seamless interaction between our medical and nursing staff is extraordinary. They work together like a fine-tuned orchestra. And most important, their relationships extend beyond the operating rooms. Their offices are adjacent to one another, they meet often, lunch together and enjoy each others’ company. They are friends as well as colleagues. Our patients are blessed with their high level of expertise and their warm personal relationships, which result in outstanding cooperation and outstanding accomplishments.

Prof. Eid presented me with a detailed analysis of how his department functions, what they do and what they would like to do better. His mission, like that of our entire Medical Center, is “to provide the best possible care for patients, to provide state-of-the-art education for medical students, residents and fellows and to promote research.

“The Department is unique,” he said, citing many examples. He pointed out that 37 percent of their surgical patients come from outside Jerusalem. Many come to take advantage of our expertise in specialties such as bariatric surgery and breast surgery.

The department coped well with the economic constraints without sacrificing the quality of care, he told me.

As excellent as they are, Prof. Eid wants them to be even better. He would like to have even more patients, attract new academic surgeons, expand the research activities and perhaps, even enlarge the department. It is difficult to disagree with his goals, so we will look for the resources and methodology to help.

Surgery is an essential component of our Medical Center, the operating rooms are the heart of our hospitals. What I saw on Mt. Scopus and at Ein Kerem simply reinforced these beliefs.

Here, I would like to tell you about an exciting initiative that began about a year ago. It involves a sophisticated management concept called LEAN. Last week, Dr. Yuval Weiss, Director of Hadassah-Ein Kerem, participated in a workshop about LEAN at Intel-Israel. During the day-long seminar, he learned more about how LEAN thinking changes the focus of management “to optimize the flow of services” and how to incorporate this new way of thinking and acting throughout the entire Medical Center. As Dr. Weiss described what he had seen and heard, I was energized and excited for I had seen the benefits of this innovative management theory during my tour of major American medical centers last summer.

For some months now, a group of volunteers from Intel-Israel has been working with us to implement this innovative approach. We began with a pilot project to improve the flow of patients from the operating rooms to the recovery room and then on to the departments. The pilot project has been so successful that we are planning to expand it to improve the functioning of the operating rooms for the Departments of General Surgery and Obstetrical and Gynecological Surgery.

As we plan and organize for the opening of the Surgical Center in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower next fall, we are analyzing what we have learned from the pilot project, how best to use the LEAN theory and what changes we will have to make. There is a lot to consider, not just for the operating rooms and the surgical teams, but for pre-op and recovery room procedures and the Intensive Care Units. Our surgical and management teams are also excited. We all know that the more efficient we can be, the more effective we will be and that our patients will be the recipients of our efforts. As we proceed, I will be happy to share what we are learning and doing.   

On a personal note, many people have asked me about the origin of my last name. What does Kokia mean and does it have any special significance? My family is originally from Spain. They emigrated to Georgia in the Former Soviet Union during the harsh decades of the Spanish Inquisition, rather than convert. Sometime during the intervening centuries, they changed their name from Kokiashvili to Kokia, the name they had when they arrived in Jerusalem by donkey at the end of the 19th century. The name itself has no special meaning, but we cherish the book that contains the history of my family’s journeys and their experiences.

I was especially proud that I could add my appointment as Director General of the Hadassah Medical Organization to the list of accomplishments of my distinguished ancestors whose devotion to Judaism and Zionism is reflected in their deeds. I share their commitment to the Jewish people, the State of Israel and especially Jerusalem. With the help of our dedicated staff and Hadassah’s vast network of devoted family and friends, I will do my utmost to live up to their illustrious legacy.

Yours,

Ehud

Prof. Ehud Kokia
Director General



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