Otolaryngology clinics relocate to Lakeland
By Bruce Coleman
Brightly colored paintings of cymbals crashing, horns blaring and drums beating adorn the pediatric ENT waiting area in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Science’s
new clinical space on the fourth floor of the Lakeland Medical Building
Asked to develop artwork for the display, “Ear, Nose and Throat,” Magnolia Speech School students provided sights of sounds many of them could barely sense before working with hearing specialists at the clinic.
“Many of the students received hearing aids or cochlear implants through UMC,” said Abby Covington, associate director of ambulatory operations for the department. “We gave them a theme of hearing, taste and smell and let them be creative.
Magnolia students with (l. to r.) Dr. Reed and Dr. Windmill
“The resulting artwork couldn’t be more charming.”
The paintings provide an inviting atmosphere for pediatric patients and reflect a more welcoming tone for the newly renovated facility. But pediatric ENT is only a portion of the clinic’s services, which also include general and subspecialized care for children and adults with otology, rhinology, allergy, laryngology, facial plastic surgery, sleep medicine, endocrine/thyroid, audiology and speech pathology challenges.
“The new clinic space allows us to accommodate growth in the practice and to consolidate almost all of our services at one location,” said Dr. Scott Stringer, professor and chairman of otolaryngology and communicative sciences. “Parking, waiting room privacy and comfort, and way-finding are now much improved for our patients.”
The new space allows the department to increase its exam rooms from eight to 12 – each stocked with state-of-the-art equipment – double its soundproof audiology testing booths from two to four and add a complement of speech treatment and hearing care rooms to its mix of conveniently located facilities.
New waiting room
Dr. Randy Jordan, medical director and vice chairman of otolaryngology and communicative sciences, said the renovated space – approximately 13,000 square feet – doubles the size of the clinic’s former core locations in Suite K of the University Physicians Pavilion and at Grant’s Ferry.
The best part of the move, according to most otolaryngology faculty and staff?
“We now have windows,” Jordan said with a laugh. “It’s always nice to be able to look outside.
“Along with more room - we still have easy access for our surgeons to go to the OR if needed - it provides direct, easy access for our patients.”
The new facility already has struck a chord with patients. Although there hasn’t been enough time to collect patient satisfaction surveys, the comments clinic staff have received from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Patients say they enjoy coming here because it’s easier to get in and out for an appointment,” Covington said.
Indeed, 179 more patients filed through the clinic during its first month in its new location than in its previous month, a number that Covington said is expected to increase with additional services such as thyroid ultrasound visits, and with sleep services continuing to grow.
“Patients have access to labs, X-ray and CT, all in this building, and we can do pre-anesthesia testing here as well,” Jordan said. “The goal is to keep them from having to make multiple stops, if possible.”
Fellowship-trained subspecialists provide the bulk of services at the new location:
Stringer handles rhinology services; Jordan sees facial plastic surgery patients; Dr. John Schweinfurth offers laryngology services, including swallowing and voice care; Dr. Christopher Lee provides general ENT and endocrine services; Dr. Angela Lewis treats general ENT as well as sleep medicine patients; Dr. Thomas Eby handles otology services; Dr. Jeff Carron and Dr. Mark Reed deliver pediatric otolaryngology services; and Dr. Ian Windmill, chief of communicative sciences, leads hearing care and speech therapy services.
In July 2013, two head and neck oncology surgeons will join the otolaryngology faculty: they’ll care for endocrine patients in addition to their oncology patients.
New patient room
On top of this, nurse practitioners see patients for less-acute issues, audiologists provide hearing care, including fitting hearing aids, and speech/language pathologists offer a range of services, from swallowing therapy to accent reduction sessions.
“Dr. Stringer sets the expectation for the department to provide the best possible patient care and customer service,” Covington said. “This new, larger space is great for our staff, but the most exciting part about the new location is our ability to serve our patients even better.”
For more information about the clinic, visit the department’s website at http://www.umc.edu/otolaryngology/ or to make an appointment, call 601-984-5160.