Betsy Couch: Welcome to the Think TLH Podcast brought to you by the Knight Creative Communities Institute. This is a show about innovators, creative thinkers, and individuals that are making transformative change here in Tallahassee, Florida.


Betsy Crouch: Welcome to the Think TLH Podcast. Today we have with us the CEO of Capital Regional Medical Center, Alan Keesee. Capital Regional Medical Center is a fully accredited healthcare facility that is now the only one in the region to offer a robotic arm assisted knee and hip surgery. Alan, thank you so much for joining us today.

Alan Keesee: Thank you.

Betsy Crouch: Tell us a little bit about the hospital and also this new latest development.

Alan Keesee: Yeah, so very proud to have served Tallahassee for 40 years this year. We're celebrating our Over The Hill birthday. Capital Regional Medical Center started as Tallahassee Community Hospital, back in 1979, and 2018, 40 years later, we're advancing the care in technology through our new robotic program in orthopedics. It's very exciting technology because osteoarthritis is actually the leading cause of seniors not being able to walk. As we know in our great community, the fastest growing population here in town is actually our senior population. Those 65 and older are growing about 20% as the projected growth rate over the next five years. So it's a great service to have advanced technology to care for folks that are debilitated because they can't move and get around.

Alan Keesee: So this technology is advanced because in a lot of ways, the analogy I use is a carpenter. Orthopedic surgeons in some ways are like carpenters. In that they're sighting how a drill, or a screw, or a plant, or an implant is going to be placed in the patient's body. Back in the day, you do that a lot by sight, just like carpenters back in the day used to do that. But the new robotic technology actually includes, you leverage a CT scan and X-ray the patient's unique anatomy ahead of time, and it leverages technology using GPS and other advanced systems to accurately sight where you're going to place the implant. Helps with implant selection of the actual drilling and manipulation of the bone to ensure that the sight is accurate. It just increases the confidence level of the surgeon all around with the care of the patient.

Alan Keesee: So, it's a little over my head, to be honest, some of the technology. But advanced computer aid design, advanced CT image guided care, and then using all of those technologies together to have a better, more accurate surgical outcome for the patient.

Betsy Crouch: So it's really giving them more personalized care and they're getting a surgery that is truly tailored just for them.

Alan Keesee: Yeah. It's unique because you can actually preplan a lot better versus getting into the operating suite and trying to figure out exactly which hardware, which device you're going to use. It's unique to the anatomy of everyone. Everyone is different, every body is different, everybody's bones are a little different. So why wouldn't the application of the technology or the surgeon in that moment be customized to the patient? This technology really allows that customization and accuracy for the patient. So it's really, in a lot of ways, it's actually how surgeons are trained.

Alan Keesee: So some of our best utilizers, our newest physicians, are the ones straight out of the fellowship here from fellowships in Florida, in our great state, and they're able to use this technology as they've been trained in the most recent academic medical centers here in Tallahassee.

Betsy Crouch: So what is it like to be the only one in this region with this technology?

Alan Keesee: I think our heart here at Capital Regional Medical Center is to advance the care in the region. So if there's new technologies, new physician techniques, or new specialists we can bring, I think this is just one example of how we do that every day. I think it's great for patients from a number of ways. One, the pain level after surgery has shown to be a lot less if you have robotic orthopedic surgery, the imperative, more traditional procedures. That's great because when you round on the floors, the patients are typically up within a couple hours after surgery, walking.

Betsy Crouch: Amazing.

Alan Keesee: Yeah, it's amazing, after your hip is completely replaced, and you have a metal implant, you can get up after surgery, walk down the hall, and we kind of push you to do that, because that's ultimately what gets you better. It's getting out of bed and mobile again. The second benefit I think other than just having less pain is some studies have shown that with this technology, there's better longevity of the impact of the surgery. That's always a concern is you want to go in, have a major procedure, but you want to make sure it works and it's going to be sustainable.

Alan Keesee: So a lot of studies have shown that with this more accurate technology, the impact of the benefit of having a replacement, knee replacement, hip replacement, are sustained over time. What that means is you can go play with your grandkids, you can play with your family, you can go in walks again. So that's really I think why we're proud to bring this new technique, new technology to town, it's to impact our community's lives.

Betsy Crouch: So listeners are listening and going, "Wow, this is something I really want to look into." Where can they go to get more information? Is it something they should start with having a discussion with their doctor about? Or is there a website where they can read more about this?

Alan Keesee: Yeah, we're very blessed here in town to have a great partnership with the Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic. They're a great group of surgeons. So absolutely start with a conversation with your orthopedic surgeon at TOC. Our website is CapitalRegionalMedicalCenter.com, has great resources, and other education on hip replacement, knee replacement. Then we have seminars throughout the year that the surgeons put on and we host. One of the recent ones we had, we probably had 30, 40 folks in the audience. We actually bring the technology, bring the robot out of the OR, bring it into our first world classroom, and have a great lecture and opportunity to interact with the surgeon and also see it.

Alan Keesee: A lot of folks, it's not a robot doing the surgery, it's really robotic guided, or assisted surgery that allows a surgeon to use their natural skillset to a higher level. So you can see it, touch it, interact with the surgeon, ask questions, a lot of great ways to get involved in that.

Betsy Crouch: They can find out about the seminars on your website?

Alan Keesee: Yep, capitalregionalmedicalcenter.com, we're on every social media platform possible. You can follow us there as well.

Betsy Crouch: Great. Tell us a little bit more about the hospital. I understand that Capital Regional Medical Center is a fully accredited healthcare facility, you have more than 1100 employees, you're the largest employers in Tallahassee in fact, and you have 500 physicians, and you offer 266 beds. You are also looking to expand your emergency room. So talk to us a little bit about what's going on with future plans with the hospital.

Alan Keesee: Yeah, Capital Regional has really grown over the last 40 years. One of the largest private employers in town, as you mentioned, and very proud of our team, our workforce. Because of that growth, we're moving out into the community more and more. So we have two new free-standing emergency departments, that [inaudible] be opening in the next year. One will be on the corner of Orange and Capital Circle Southeast, we call it our Southwood ER. A lot of folks ask, "What is a free-standing ER?" But it really is a full service emergency center, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We have an onsite generator, so hurricane, no hurricane, we'll be open. Board certified ER physicians, trained and highly qualified nursing staff, that are all emergency trained and ready for any type of emergency.

Alan Keesee: It will treat pediatrics from small infants, all the way through our oldest community members right there on site, again 24 hours. The ER also has a onsite imaging and diagnostics, so you can get your CT scan if there's an X-ray that your physician orders, laboratory work that your physician orders, or pharmacy needs, it's all kind of handled right there in the emergency department. So we're excited to have that both in Southwood, and our second one will be up in North Monroe, north of I-10.

Alan Keesee: There's really no healthcare access up there 24 hours, nights, weekends, for that community. That community is actually one of the largest zip codes and areas that utilize emergency services in our community. So we're excited to open a new free-standing emergency department for them to be closer to home, closer to where they live. So those two projects are a $30 million investment, that will bring about 60 to 70 new jobs to town, and these are well-paying jobs of nurses, healthcare professionals as well as medical physicians, about 9 different new physicians will be coming to Tallahassee. So we're excited to bring those new emergency services closer to the community.

Betsy Crouch: That's wonderful news. And something we always need in this community. You're also an example of how talent lives here. You lived here for a while, and you worked at the hospital, then you [inaudible] promotion, moved away for a few years, and then when you were promoted again to be CEO, you've recently come back to Tallahassee. And a little bird told me that you were also recently recognized this year as the young executive of the year, so congratulations.

Alan Keesee: Thank you, thank you.

Betsy Crouch: What is it that is most appealing to you about Tallahassee?

Alan Keesee: So I lived in Tallahassee in 2013-2015, had the opportunity to move to Las Vegas, my story I say is I lost all my money in Las Vegas, and had to come back to Tallahassee. But we chose to come back to Tallahassee, which I think is the story of a lot of folks, including our mayor, John Dailey, as he says, he chose to come back as did I. We love the ... personally, I love the outdoors. I'm a mountain biker, also trail jog, and Tallahassee has beautiful trails, beautiful canopy roads, wonderful ways to get out and be in nature. That's why I love the community physically.

Alan Keesee: Also, a great place for my two young girls and my wife to live and us to raise them. Great educational system. I feel safe, I think that's something, you know, having lived in Las Vegas versus here, I feel a lot safer here in Tallahassee, and it's been a great place where we can raise our family and enjoy the outdoors.

Betsy Crouch: Well you touch on two are the big draws, actually three of them, the safety, the outdoors, and of course the school system. As you know, we're really fortunate that I believe we have 850 miles of outdoor trails, and I know a lot of people are surprised when they hear that, but we have visitors come from all over the world just to explore our paddling trails, our hiking, our horseback riding trails, so that's interesting, that's something that's really appealing to you.

Alan Keesee: Yeah, I took my girls out kayaking on a Sunday, and they kept wondering where the alligators were going to come up. Fortunately, none came up, but we love the river trails, the water trails, and then the actual the land trails as well. You know, just, we went to the Red Hills Horse races this past weekend, wonderful event, very unique to our community. But I think represents what we're all about. Outdoor, beautiful area, horse culture, and we love that about Tallahassee.

Betsy Crouch: And our schools are also great. Not only our K through 12, we have some of the best schools in the state. But then our world class universities, which is excellent as business owners and running the hospital, it's constantly turning out great talent for us.

Alan Keesee: Yeah, just on that real quick, Florida State University School of Medicine is a great partner here at Capital Regional. We've been hiring several Florida State University medical graduates, so it's been neat to see, we've actually had two in the last year who grew up in Tallahassee, went to local high schools, went to Florida State School of Medicine, went off to do the residency, and then chose to come back to Tallahassee because they loved it so much. We're welcoming them back now. I think that's the fruit of having a medical school in our community, because now we have talent that's Florida, born and raised, now treating patients here locally.

Betsy Crouch: Absolutely. My husband is a dentist and he's always trying to get ... saying, "Why don't we have a dental school?" Because it helps the need for providing quality dental care, but then it also helps create talent, future talent. Why do you think Tallahassee is a good community for innovation? We're leading on magnetic technology, there's a lot of research that happens at our major universities, of course, [inaudible] the front and so is TMH or other hospital on medical advancement, what do you think it is about Tallahassee that helps us have this community of innovation?

Alan Keesee: So I think I'm excited about the future of innovation here in town, because it's really ripe for it. I think we have a wonderful opportunity with our airport expansion that's underway. Had to really create a hub of technology, a hub of businesses that rally around that as they trade zone, [inaudible] trade zone, so that's exciting. And hasn't been done before. There is land, which is very important to businesses as they expand, land that's accessible, with access to new buildings with great developers in town, relative to those transportation hubs of I-10, and as well as the airport.

Alan Keesee: Ultimately, I think the innovation is going to come from what our greatest, one of our greatest assets, which is our university system between FAMU, FSU, and TCC as a world class community college, we produce high quality, very intelligent talent that I think is going to be the next generation of innovation here in Florida. With our state capital underpinning all of that with all the legislative activity, we are right, I think, for new innovations. I'm proud to be part of the leadership in the community that hopefully will attract not only new businesses, but we have a lot of incubator businesses that are starting with the Jim Moran Institute, and a lot of the entrepreneurship that's taking place. Florida state has a great entrepreneurship track, and I think all of those exciting things will hopefully keep some of the businesses local here in town.

Alan Keesee: We had a great opportunity to interact with some young entrepreneurs and professionals the other day. Who have a lot of businesses that are going to tag on to some existing public infrastructure with our State of Florida Departments. So there's a lot of computer science and technology that can aid what we already do in the department of transportation, the department of education, the department of finance, so we have these anchor businesses here where we can build add-on innovations, and new technologies, and things that make their jobs more efficiently.

Alan Keesee: So what better way to do that [inaudible] leverages computer science, engineering, the magnetic research lab, a great opportunity to expand our infrastructure on the airport, and the I-10 corridor, so again, I go back to say is ripe for innovation and growth. So it's exciting time to be here.

Betsy Crouch: It really is. We got to hear firsthand from Jason, one of the co-founders of DivvyUp Socks.

Alan Keesee: Great.

Betsy Crouch: Just hearing how they are using technology, and just some of Tallahassee's natural assets that we offer here, and how they came out of FSU, and the school of entrepreneurship, but then also how Domi, which is one of our incubator startups, how that's really helped them grow as entrepreneurs. So it is a fascinating time to be in Tallahassee.

Alan Keesee: I know, it's exciting.

Betsy Crouch: Thank you for choosing to come back to Tallahassee and thanks for leading the hospital and so many advancements on the medical front.

Alan Keesee: It's been a pleasure to be here. I love Tallahassee, Capital Regional is proud to be big supportive of our community, and hopefully we'll be along with the other companies an incubator for continue growth and our vision is to help us to have a healthier tomorrow.

Betsy Crouch: Thank you, Alan.

Alan Keesee: Thanks.

Betsy Couch: Thank you for listening to the Think TLH Podcast from the Knight Creative Communities Institute. If you want to learn more or hear other episodes go to KCCITallahassee.com/thinkTLH. Please also subscribe to the show through Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. While you're there, give us a review. For more updates, follow us @KCCITallahassee on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Check back every Thursday for another episode of Think TLH. Our show is produced and edited by Alison Leavitt, and I'm Betsy Couch, and you've been listening to the Think TLH Podcast from the Knight Creative Communities Institute.