By staff writer

February 2019

There are certain aspects of a community that will always prove to be true. One such truth is when you have an area like Tampa Bay that is home to nearly 3 million people, and that number is steadily increasing year after year, there is inevitably going to be a need for more medical care. With that comes an increased emphasis on medical education. So how is Tampa handling this increased demand? The simple answer is: innovation.

Tampa is home to a number of highly praised and widely recognized medical institutions, and one of these institutions is Ultimate Medical Academy. The academy is using innovative methods for its online school to better equip those students who might not have the flexibility in their lives to go to an actual campus. Invest: Tampa Bay recently sat down with the school’s president, Derek Apanovitch, to discuss how they are best supporting their medical students.

“It has been a good year at Ultimate Medical Academy,” Apanovitch told Invest:. “We reached 15,000 students nationwide, and we have more than 45,000 graduates across the country. We also received four more years of accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

“We have what we call learner-services advisors who are assigned to individual students on their first day of class and stay with them through the duration of their program to help keep them on track,” Apanovitch continued. “One of the obvious challenges of running an online learning environment is that you don’t have students in front of you. We try to reaffirm that human element through constant interaction with our students, many of whom are single moms who are juggling part-time jobs and child care, so it’s important that someone is always available to help them. Faculty and the student support center employees are always on hand. That’s integral to the success of our students.”

Online institutions like Ultimate Medical Academy are proving successful because of their accessibility. This idea of accessibility has also been adopted by Tampa’s hospitals, making it so their patients have access to the items they need without having to go out of their way to procure them.

Invest: Tampa recently spoke with Tampa General Hospital’s CEO and president, John Couris, to discuss how they are leveraging innovative technologies to improve patient experience.

“We use a system called Epic for our electronic medical records (EMRs), and arguably it’s one of the best EMRs in the world,” Couris said. “It has improved access to clinical information exponentially for patients. Patients can access test results. They can communicate and message their doctors. They can make appointments. They can fill prescriptions. They have a to-do list for healthcare and tracking. They have a healthcare summary. They can see and pay their bills. They can do an e-visit, and they can share their records with any other Epic institution in the world. Not every institution has that kind of technology and infrastructure. We have it, and we’re continuing to get better at it.”

Innovation is not a new concept, but it is one that is necessary for Tampa Bay’s continued success in the medical field. As long as medical professionals and institutions continue to innovate, Tampa Bay will continue to be at the forefront of Florida’s medical community!

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:
Ultimate Medical Academy: https://www.ultimatemedical.edu/
Tampa General Hospital: https://www.tgh.org/