Dr. Fischer Reflects as OMC Earns 7th Consecutive Top 100 Honor

Dr. Fischer Reflects as OMC Earns 7th Consecutive Top 100 Honor

Olympic Medical Center Named a Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital for 7th Year in a Row

For the seventh year in a row, Olympic Medical Center has been named a Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital by the Chartis Center. OMC was the only rural and community hospital in the state of Washington to receive this honor for 2022.

One man who has seen OMC earn each of these awards, and has seen the evolution of healthcare on the Olympic Peninsula over the last 40 years, is pulmonologist Dr. Mark Fischer.

40+ Years of Service to the Olympic Peninsula

Dr. Fischer was born and raised in Port Angeles. Following his education at Oregon Health & Science University and his training at UC San Francisco, Dr. Fischer returned to Port Angeles, where he has been in practice since October 1, 1980.

“The patients in our community have such a benefit for the vision, of many years, of quality of health care, patient safety, patient satisfaction, and also the environment for well over a thousand [people] that are members of our community that work for Olympic Medical Center,” Dr. Fischer said. “This has been the vision, as long as I can remember, of the publicly elected OMC Board of Commissioners.”

Dr. Fischer began his practice with the Port Angeles Clinic until it was bought by Virginia Mason in 1995. He eventually joined Olympic Medical Physicians when it was formed in 2006.

He was an early proponent of implementing electronic health records at Olympic Medical Center, beginning with Meditech in the late 1990s before upgrading to Epic in 2013.

“OMC has been a leader in the path towards the electronic health record,” Dr. Fischer said.

On May 4, 2013 at 5:00 a.m., Olympic Medical Center became the first independent, rural hospital to adopt the use of Epic in the Providence system.

“I’ll never forget ‘go-live,’” Dr. Fischer recalls. “We hadn’t done anything of that magnitude in the past. It’s sort of like when an astronaut comes from outer space and breaks through the stratosphere and there’s like 35 minutes where you don’t hear anything. We had months of planning. ‘Are we going to break through the stratosphere and come into this is hopeful new era?’

Olympic Medical Center is a trophy for our community. - Dr. Mark Fischer

For providers and patients alike, the electronic health record has been a breakthrough in transparency and accessibility.

“The electronic health record has made transitions in care and continuity of care better,” Dr. Fischer said.

“If in doubt, listen to the patient”

Top of mind for Dr. Fischer is patient experience. Or as he often says, “If in doubt, listen to the patient.”

“Ultimately, the patients’ health, safety and experience is why we do what we do,” Dr. Fischer said. “Whatever your job is at OMC, it’s ultimately for the patient. There’s been several developments over the years where that has become more appropriate source of commitment and attention and listening and time spent with patients, either in provider visits with them, but also listening to the patient’s concerns. If they have concerns and also listening to their feedback as it relates to the patient’s view as to how we can continually improve what we deliver in our community health care.”

Seven Years of Top 100 

“One of the reasons why OMC has been a repeated award winner for rural and community health care in the United States is because of the coupling of quality, safety and value of health care,” Dr. Fischer said.

It’s no coincidence that quality, safety and value are key principles of Olympic Medical Center’s values and vision.

“Parallel to the vision of quality, safety and value has actually been a robust development of Quality Support Services,” Dr. Fischer said. “OMC takes it upon itself to measure all aspects of care as it relates to either inpatient care or metrics of quality and safety in the [clinic and other clinical areas].”

In selecting the top 100 rural and community hospitals for 2022, the Chartis Center used the Hospital Strength Index, which assesses performance in eight areas: market share (inpatient and outpatient), quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge and financial efficiency.

Each spring, OMC undergoes a comprehensive review of its procedures and protocols by a third-party accreditation agency, which identifies areas that require process improvement.

“An important change in the last few years for OMC with the board’s leadership has been the adoption of DNV [Det Norske Veritas Healthcare], which…brings a new, fresh model of process improvement to us every year,” Dr. Fischer said. “I think that’s really been an important step for our medical center and for our community.”

Dr. Mark Fischer attends groundbreaking ceremonies for the Medical Office Building in Port Angeles in 2015.

Dr. Fischer highlights many things as being key to Olympic Medical Center’s accomplishments over the past 10-plus years, while saying, “It’s certainly not comprehensive whatsoever because of the excellence that transcends our rural hospital.”

  • The longstanding leadership and commitment provided by the Board of Commissioners, CEO and chief officers.
  • Olympic Medical Home Health, which consistently ranks among the top home health care agencies in the U.S.
  • The construction of the modern Medical Office Building in Port Angeles.
  • The ongoing, further investment in facilities, technology and providers at the Olympic Medical Cancer Center in Sequim.
  • The creation of Olympic Medical Physicians, which preserved access to primary care for thousands of patients that was threatened when Virginia Mason closed their clinic.
  • The Emergency Department at Olympic Medical Center, which is the only Level 3 Trauma Center for an area spanning east to Silverdale, west to the Pacific Coast, and south to Olympia.
  • Continued and increasing collaboration with community partners such as the Clallam County Health Department, North Olympic Healthcare Network, Jamestown Family Health Clinic and others.

“Olympic Medical Center is a trophy for our community,” Dr. Fischer said.