What’s Happening in Boca?

One of the most interesting stories in healthcare (and healthcare marketing) is currently unfolding in Boca Raton, Florida. The folks at Boca Raton Community Hospital (BRCH) are preparing to launch the first new academic medical center in the U.S. in more than a decade. Through a partnership with Florida Atlantic University, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and a $75 million donation from the Schmidt Family Foundation, BRCH has embarked on a mission to build a new $650 million medical center. The 530-bed teaching hospital, built on the grounds of Florida Atlantic University, is scheduled to open in 2011. But first there’s the issue of raising a $250 million. No small task.

The story, and the challenge, doesn’t stop there.

What else is going on at BRCH? A lot.

  • What about building the safest hospital in America? BRCH plans for its new medical center to be the safest hospital in America and has assembled a safety “dream team” to turn this vision into a reality. BRCH has hired John Reiling, nationally renowned safety expert, to oversee the planning, design and construction of the new medical center.
  • In late 2006, BRCH opened the new Christine E. Lynn Cardiovascular Institute – a comprehensive heart program that includes a six-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit, a minimally invasive surgery room, renovation of two existing surgical suites, a new cardiac cath lab, and a nine-bed cath recovery area.
  • BRCH is currently building a new comprehensive cancer center. The $75 million, 98,000 square-foot state-of-the-art Lynn Regional Cancer Center is scheduled to open in late 2008.
  • What about a shrinking market? The Boca market is shrinking while population growth is occurring to the north in the Boynton/Lake Worth area and in Pompano. For BRCH to hold and then increase market share, it needs to expand its reach geographically, most likely using its Institutes as a portal to draw new patients into the medical center.
  • Keeping the “affluentials” at home: For BRCH to succeed, it has to convince the affluent (super-rich) residents in its primary service area to look no further than their backyards for healthcare. These are people who are more than willing to get on an airplane and travel to Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson or Duke University Medical Center for care.

Have they bitten off more than they can chew in Boca? They certainly do have a challenge ahead of them, but I applaud their vision. It seems to me that the folks at BRCH aren’t content to just continue on with the status quo. They are working to do something special that will make a difference in the quality of care immediately available to the people in that region of South Florida. And, if they succeed, they will create a model institution for patient safety. It is the kind of challenge that fuels my passion as a marketer.

You can check out Boca Raton Community Hospital online at www.brch.com. But be warned, their website is not yet ready for prime time. Among other challenges they face is the fundamental need for a quality web presence.

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