Case Studies

Caleb Kelley – The Hughston Clinic  

Keeping the patient experience in place  

When someone goes to the hospital for open-heart surgery or for a procedure to remove a cancerous tumor, they’re probably not too concerned with the facility’s cafeteria menu or the fits and finishes in their recovery room.  

However, for an orthopedics practice, the mindset is different.   

Caleb Kelley | System Director, Facilities Management  |  The Hughston Clinic  

Caleb Kelley | System Director, Facilities Management  |  The Hughston Clinic

“Most of the procedures we perform are elective, so there is a little more focus on the environment and the patient experience,” says Caleb Kelley, system director for facilities management for the Hughston Clinic.  

Since 1946, The Hughston Clinic has been dedicated to offering advanced orthopedic services to a wide range of individuals. Today, with 47 institutions throughout the Southeast and six sectors including rehabilitation, diagnostics, orthopedics, orthopedic trauma, urgent ortho and medical group, as well as their medical research foundation, ambulatory surgery centers and Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital, the clinic has a strong legacy of high standards and integrity. 

Kelley plays a crucial role in maintaining the clinic’s reputation and ensuring that the highest level of patient care is consistently provided. He understands the significance of first impressions and how well-maintained facilities can impact patients and surgeons.  

Among Kelley’s recent responsibilities has been overseeing the expansion of the clinic’s locations within their current four-state footprint in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. Such expansion aims to serve more patients and provide better access to orthopedic services. 

Projects and teamwork 

When Kelley last spoke to Blueprint in early March 2020, he was helping the organization respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. That included ensuring clinics adhered to federal, state and local guidelines about testing, cleanliness and social distancing. 

Kelley and his team are completing several projects, including a new orthopedic clinic in Newman, Georgia, that will bring services to people who used to travel to other locations well outside their home area. Additionally, a new ambulatory surgical center in Valdosta, Georgia, will include two operating rooms and a procedure room across the facility’s 7,800 square feet of space. A state-of-the-art 3,000-square-foot research center in Columbus, Georgia, is under construction and will expand the organization’s services in that area.  

With all the projects come some challenges, including supply chain issues—some Kelley got in front of by ordering materials in advance. But for the first time, Kelley says he’s had a problem procuring metal door frames for several projects.  

“They were not available at our three major suppliers, but they are starting to come in now,” Kelley says.  

Dealing with challenges would be more difficult without a strong team, but Kelley says he has worked for years to cultivate the group and ensure people are in the right positions where they can be most successful.  

Orthopedics is different  

Kelley says because so many things done at the Hughston Clinic aren’t medically necessary—think elective procedures like a knee replacement or shoulder ligament repair—the upkeep of the buildings and the finished products are higher quality than you’d expect in other medical practices. His team and the facilities are held to a higher standard, and maintaining that quality is important because there is competition for services.  

“We have a reputation to maintain. If you are getting your knee operated on, you have more than one place you can go, so we want to stand out in a crowded field for what we provide our patients,” Kelley says.  

First impressions are everything, Kelley says, so he and his team ensure the parking lots are cleaned and well-maintained with ample parking for patients, staff and visitors. Some locations even have electric vehicle charging stations for added convenience.  

Another big differentiator for the Hughston Clinic is the food options for patients. In a normal hospital setting, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at certain intervals throughout the day with a standard menu. But Kelley says Hughston patients can eat whenever they are hungry and get served meals that are more like hotel room service than hospital staples.  

Additionally, the Hughston Clinic uses higher thread count linens, bigger towels than hospitals, and better-quality bedspreads. Televisions around the facility and in patient rooms are always at least 55 inches, and more technological improvements are being made in the main hospital.  

“Our cafeteria has digital menu boards, and the ordering system is all touchscreen and interactive,” Kelley says. “You place your order and pay for your food, and the kitchen is automatically alerted to your selections.” 

Conference rooms and training rooms have 75-inch TVs equipped with cameras to allow for video conferencing, but despite the available technology, Kelley says there is a fine line to straddle with orthopedics because patients come in from every age group.  

“For every 20-year-old with a sports injury who wants to check in digitally, schedule appointments on their phone and receive updates via email, we have other patients who aren’t as tech-savvy,” he says. “At the Hughston Clinic, we prepare for everything.” 

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. IV 2024 Edition here.

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