South Miami Hospital

  • Location: Miami, FL
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: December 2009

When a group of doctors founded South Miami Hospital in 1960, their guiding principle was the need for a community hospital to serve the residents of rural South Miami. That strong tie to the surrounding community has remained in tact for nearly 50 years, and the hospital continues to adapt its guiding principles to best serve the community. Today, South Miami Hospital focuses on the principles of quality, service, safety and diversity to ensure the deliverance of healthcare excellence to all in the community.

Its reputation as a compassionate, patient-centered hospital, coupled with its exceptional programs in addiction treatment, cardiovascular care, women and infants' health and weight-loss surgery have enticed patients to return to South Miami Hospital for all their healthcare needs.

As a twice-designated Magnet hospital, South Miami Hospital has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for its nursing excellence. Recently, the hospital completed an application to be considered for the prestigious Florida Governor's Sterling Award for total quality management. South Miami Hospital's parent organization, Baptist Health South Florida, has been recognized for nine years by FORTUNE magazine as one of its "100 Best Places to Work For." And for the 17th year, Working Mother magazine named Baptist Health to its "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" list. These types of honors, bestowed by honorable third parties, form a foundation of excellence that envelops the culture of South Miami Hospital.

To help maintain a high level of service and operational excellence and to continue adapting to the needs of the community, South Miami Hospital enlisted the help of the Studer Group. Studer Coach Lauren Charles worked with hospital leadership to identify six pillars under which to align the hospital's strategic objectives. The pillars are People, Quality, Service, Growth, Fiscal and Community Benefit.

Implementing Studer principles and tools, coupled with the dedication of South Miami Hospital leaders and staff, have led to the following successes:


  • Employee satisfaction and loyalty in 2009 reached the 85th percentile, according to The Gallup Organization, ranking South Miami Hospital and its parent organization – Baptist Health – among the highest in the nation for workplace satisfaction.
  • Employee and nursing turnover reached a three-year low, with only 9.91 percent of employees and 11.57 percent of nurses leaving to work for other companies.
  • A survey conducted by HealthStream Research, an independent national research firm, found that physicians rated South Miami Hospital in the 94th percentile compared to similar hospitals. That ranking placed South Miami Hospital in the top three hospitals in the nation for physician satisfaction.


  • Performance on the National Quality Measures improved significantly with data showing that 96 percent of the measures reported by South Miami Hospital were in the top decile.
  • Quality in nursing, as measured by the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI), over four quarters was below the national average in the number of patient falls, use of restraints, ventilator-acquired pneumonia, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and the percent of RN agency hours.
  • South Miami Hospital's Heart Attack Unit was accredited for the second time in six years by the Society of Chest Pain Centers for consistently performing angioplasty under 60 minutes of a patient's arrival at the Emergency Center – surpassing American Heart Association guidelines of 90 minutes or less.
  • The hospital improved consistently each quarter to achieve 99 percent compliance with The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals.
  • South Miami Hospital voluntarily participates in the World Health Organization's Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative, joining 250 hospitals worldwide that use a safety checklist to test whether its use decreases surgical errors and mortality rates.


  • Patient satisfaction at South Miami Hospital in 2009 reached the target goal of above the 90th percentile in three of the areas surveyed by Press Ganey – inpatient, outpatient and the Emergency Department.
  • Outpatient surgery improved its patient satisfaction scores to the 97th percentile in the last quarter of 2009, largely after implementing Studer's AIDET process, whereby employees acknowledge patients, introduce themselves, describe the anticipated duration of the patient's time in a situation, explain all the next steps and thank the patient upon completing a service.


  • South Miami Hospital's Weight-loss Surgery Program obtained Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence status by the American Society of Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Surgical Review Corporation, meaning the hospital's bariatric surgeons have performed at least 125 weight-loss surgeries a year, the long-term outcomes of those cases have been good and the hospital has a comprehensive team of professionals committed to patients' care before and after the surgery. Volumes in bariatric surgery nearly doubled from 155 in 2008 to 265 in 2009.
  • The hospital's Center for Robotic Surgery added two new da Vinci Robotic Surgical Systems, bringing the hospital's robot fleet to three, for more than 20 surgeons to perform minimally-invasive robotic surgery to remove gynecological cancer and cancer of the prostate, lungs and kidneys. Surgeons also treat other gynecological, esophageal, colorectal and heart valve problems and perform bariatric surgery using the robot.
  • The hospital's Center for Women & Infants added a 15-bed, private-room, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; a seven-bed Maternal-Fetal Special Care Unit for high risk pregnancies; and a public umbilical cord blood collection center for parents to donate lifesaving cord blood to patients with blood disorders.
  • South Miami Heart Center, a part of South Miami Hospital, added the L. Austin Weeks Center for Electrophysiology, which includes the Heart Rhythm Center. Here patients' heart health is assessed and monitored on an outpatient basis.


  • By significantly reducing operational costs, South Miami Hospital exceeded the budgeted margin of 0.1 percent and is expected to achieve a margin of 3 percent for Fiscal Year 2009. This was achieved mostly by decreasing the use of travelers and agency nurses by 51 and 79 percent, respectively and by reducing the amount of patient-care items wasted using the Omnicell waste management system.
  • Additionally, the hospital kept the number of patients leaving the Emergency Center without being seen at 2 percent.

Community Excellence:

  • South Miami Hospital employees significantly increased their participation and donations to the annual United Way campaign from $50,000 in 2007 to $132,000 in 2008, providing valuable funds to support community initiatives.
  • Two Habitat for Humanity homes were built in the South Miami area by hospital employees.
  • An international outreach project started in the wake of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan in 2004 continued to garner support from South Miami Hospital. Orphanages in the Bahamas and Jamaica received clothing and other essential items for children living there.
  • South Miami Hospital Centers of Excellence bring community members back to the hospital campus for free health information and screenings throughout the year to improve the health of the nearly 2,500 people who participate in community events each year.

South Miami Hospital is an affiliate of Baptist Health South Florida, the region's largest faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization. Baptist Health also includes Baptist Hospital of Miami, Baptist Children's, Doctors, Homestead and Mariners Hospitals, along with Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute and Baptist Outpatient Services. The 467-bed hospital has more than 2,500 employees and 1,100 physicians who care for more than 16,000 admitted patients each year.

While clinical and technological excellence is at the forefront of the hospital's commitment to quality, the deep-rooted ideal of service, shared and embraced by the Studer Group, remains the foundation for South Miami Hospital's long-term success.

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