On July 17, 1961, Chandler Community Hospital opened for business. The facility had just 25 employees and 91 volunteers.
Fifty years later, the hospital—now called Chandler Regional Medical Center— has grown in both size and staff, with more than 2,000 employees, 800-plus doctors and more than 300 volunteers, all working in a 225-bed facility.
Although the hospital has changed physically over the years, its core values are still exactly what they were half a century ago, according to Patty White, president and chief executive officer.
“Our goal was to provide a hospital for local residents that they could go to when they were sick,” White said. “We wanted to be known as the hospital for the community of Chandler.
“We still have that level of commitment of caring for the community, the commitment to our staff, and the commitment to our patients.”
What has changed the most over time, White said, is the technology that doctors and nurses now use to treat the many patients who come to the hospital every day.
“When they are at a patient’s bedside, everything—from the equipment to the medications to the sophistication of diagnostic testing—is night and day from where it was 50 years ago,” she said.
“Another difference is that there has been an increase in the focus on patient safety. Fifty years ago that was still important, but now we have more measures and processes in place than even 10 to 15 years ago. Chandler Regional excels in all quality metrics and setting up safe practices.”
Although White said it is mind boggling to consider what the next 50 years may bring in terms of technology, especially when she thinks about how far medical science has come since Chandler Regional opened its doors, she is confident that more and more strides will be made in areas like genetic testing and specialized therapies.
As for the hospital building itself, it is easier for White to visualize the way it will change in just the next few years; plans are already in place to build a new patient tower that will house 100 more beds.
“We really need to grow to continue to provide quality healthcare to the community,” she said, adding that the new tower should be finished in 2014.
No matter what technological advancements come about in the next 50 years, or how the building and staff may grow in size, White is confident that at its heart the hospital will be just as it was back in the summer of 1961—a place where Chandler residents know they can go to get high quality health care from people who care.
“The culture is strong here; that is consistent,” White said.
“We are still as loyal and committed to the organization as we were 50 years ago.”