Situated in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, El Camino Hospital fired up its first computers in 1967 and had electronic medical records by 1971. Since Kenneth Graham became president and CEO of the 542-bed hospital in 2006, he's carried on that tradition of technological innovation, leading Popular Science magazine in 2009 to label El Camino's newly constructed, earthquake-resistant facility “the most technologically advanced in the world.”
2011 ACHE Gold Medal Award
Kenneth Graham lauded for leadership at local, national levels
Designed before he arrived, the new Mountain View facility became perhaps Graham's central focus, and “we did it on time, on budget, with no liens and no lawsuits,” says Graham, 63, recipient of the American College of Healthcare Executives' 2011 Gold Medal Award for significant contributions to the healthcare field. “We have an innovative and adaptive workforce that's interested in using new things and integrating them into their work.”
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The new building features robots that carry supplies and tools to doctors, intensive-care unit beds that speak 20 languages, and wireless technology throughout the building. During Graham's five-year tenure, El Camino also has built a 60-bed women's hospital that handles almost 4,500 deliveries a year and acquired the former Allied Community Hospital of Los Gatos, a 143-bed facility that's now called El Camino Hospital Los Gatos.
In his nearly four decades in the field, Graham's longest stint came as president and CEO of Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash., from 1994 to 2006. During his tenure, Overlake rose from a “weak financial position” to construct three new buildings and redesign the hospital's campus. “We did very creative financing,” Graham says.
Graham's leadership has carried over to the ACHE, as well, where he served as regent for Washington state from 2000 to 2004 and on the board of governors from 2004 to 2007. As state regent, he led one of the first “pilot” chapters in an effort that has mushroomed to 80 local chapters nationwide.
While serving on the ACHE board's credentialing committee, Graham took part in an effort to raise funds for the ACHE around the topic of innovation in healthcare leadership, which became known as the Fund for Innovation.
“That's been a privilege—to develop the idea of fundraising around innovation, to support ethics, to support young administrators and new ways of leadership,” he says.
The ACHE has served as a touchstone over the years for Graham, who describes himself as a believer in “continuous lifelong learning.”
“I learned early in my career not to let your job interfere with your professional development. Getting actively involved in the college has been very important for my professional satisfaction.”
Ed Finkel is a frequent contributor to Modern Healthcare. Contact him at [email protected]
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