It was more than a century ago that the Sisters of Mercy came to Cedar Rapids, where the Catholic sisters established a small, 15-bed hospital at Third Avenue and Sixth Street SW. Since then, the hospital is grown to include 230-plus beds and more than 370 nurses, with a range of pediatric, oncological and other medical services that helped it earn the title of the Corridor Business Journal’s Best Hospital of 2015.

CEO Tim Charles said that even in the hospital’s earliest incarnations, its founders had great ambitions for the facility, as evidenced in an early fundraising letter that said the sisters would be content “only when we have made it a peer of the best.”

“That conveys to me that even a century ago, the Sisters of Mercy had a vision for Mercy Medical Center – that it was going to excel [and] be a superior medical facility,” Mr. Charles said.

Mr. Charles said one of the hospitals’ greatest modern assets is the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, which last year added five new clinics dedicated to disciplines such as thyroid and lung cancer. The center also began offering 3-D mammography in 2014, in addition to a adding a new linear accelerator that allows for more powerful and precise radiotherapy treatments.

“We have one goal, which can be addressed with multiple weapons,” Mr. Charles said. “Our goal is to go to war with cancer, and it is a battle for patients. But the advantage we have is a myriad of tools and resources in our cancer center to be able to address that.”

In the last year, the hospital was named one of the 100 best in the country by Truven Health Analytics. It also was recognized as one of the country’s best hospitals for patient experience by Women’s Choice Award, a collaboration of the Wharton School of Business and Medelia Inc.

“What is driving our success is the innovative work that is done by our professionals, and specifically physicians who are part of our leadership team,” Mr. Charles noted.

That team includes Dr. Tim Quinn, who joined the hospital in 2005 and was named chief of clinical operations in 2013.

Dr. Quinn said other new technologies the hospital has recently implemented include a telehealth clinic at Rockwell Collins. A dedicated clinical space at the avionics company allows patients to consult in-person with a nurse, then be admitted into a space where they use a high-definition camera and computer monitor to see a physician. The doctor located at Mercy has access to tools such as an electronic stethoscope on the patient-end, where the internal sounds are transmitted to the doctor, oftentimes more audibly than analog stethoscopes, Dr. Quinn said.

“It’s really kind of a step beyond what the old version of telehealth is,” he said.

This spring, the hospital also expanded its Pediatric Inpatient Center, which has treated nearly 5,000 new pediatric patients since the Mercy Pediatric Clinic opened last year. The new location offers nearly twice as many private patient rooms, which are not only used for hospitalized children, but also those who regularly receive more complex outpatient treatments.

– Chase Castle

TIMES ON LIST:
2 Time Best Hospital (2010)