TRINITY — Few things are as frustrating as being in pain and waiting to be seen in an emergency room.
Raynard Ware knows how that feels, and because of his experience, he began to explore why an ER wait is so long and what can be done to make that wait shorter and more efficient for patients.
That exploration has led him to his current position as assistant administrator at Medical Center of Trinity.
And, he sits in that position at the age of 26, making him one of the youngest administrative professional to serve in that position anywhere.
As part of the hospital’s senior leadership team, Ware, also serves as the hospital’s co-ethics and compliance officer. He’s also its good-government liaison, engaging local representatives by organizing question and answer sessions with the staff, conducting voter registration drives and providing education and outreach to staff.
“Because we are growing so rapidly, we need more resources to manage all the activity that is going on,” Ware explains. “As an assistant administrator, I tag team managing the ancillary services — nutrition, environmental, respiratory, rehabilitation, room care — all of these pieces that contribute to patient care. It’s about making sure all of these departments have the resources to do their jobs well.”
Ware said he is part of an administrative team that wants to maintain a culture among the staff which is “transparent and collaborative.”
Ware, a native of Washington, D.C., came to Trinity two months ago from Nashville, Tennessee, where Hospital Corporation of America, which owns Medical Center of Trinity, is headquartered.
He has worked on enterprise-wide initiatives as part of HCA’s strategy and innovation group, including the acquisition and integration of Mission Health, an 815-bed hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.
“I wanted to be closer to patient care,” Ware said. “I got into health care because of a football injury.”
Ware was a sophomore defensive back at Morehouse, a historically black men’s college in Atlanta, majoring in finance. At the time, he wanted to be a banker.
“It was a goal line play and they pitched to the fullback,” he recalled. “I hit him on the 2-yard line and I damaged the axillary nerve on my shoulder. I went to the ER and there were super-long wait times. I wanted to know who was in charge of this inefficiency.”
That injury kept Ware off the field for a full season, giving him time to participate in the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute. A professional development program in Kansas City, Missouri, the Bluford Institute is designed to expose minority scholars with leadership potential to the challenges of health care management.
“The thought had gone off in my head that football could be over at any time,” Ware said. “I needed to figure out what I could do outside of football. That injury brought me to my senses.”
Having come from a poverty-stricken environment, Ware said, finance had interested him because he “wanted to learn how money worked.”
“When I had the injury, I wanted to learn how to improve the efficiency of hospitals,” he said. “At the leadership institute, the CEO told me I had great interpersonal skills and was strong quantitatively because of my finance major. With his reassurance and my personal connection to health care, I pursued it from there on. The next year I did a health care administration internship in Memphis.”
Ware went on to earn a master’s degree in health care management and policy from Georgetown University.
In health care, the word “efficiency” does not translate into a way of reducing costs by providing a lower level of service.
“It’s really all about getting patients through the process faster so they can get the appropriate care faster,” Ware said.
He also says the hospital experience should not be the stereotypical antiseptic four-walls.
“People are here during what is possibly the most stressful time of their life,” Ware said. “It should be comfortable and reassuring. I see it as it should be like a 5-star hotel in many ways.”
And when a complaint comes to his desk, chances are that Ware will personally go visit the patient or their family members to let them know their concerns have been heard and are being fixed.
Ware praises the staff at Medical Center of Trinity saying the best ideas have come from them.
“I am so fortunate to come here and be with a staff which has so much experience and knows exactly what is needed,” he said. “This area is so fortunate to have a staff such as is here at Trinity.”
Ware said the work to make things better in health care never ends, especially with the constant changes in technology and the profession.
But, there is one statistic he points to with great pride.
The ER wait time for Ware’s college football injury was four hours. “For that same injury, the wait time here at Trinity would be 10 minutes,” he said with a smile.