Medscape at 25: Recognizing Medicine's Rising Stars

Becky Lang


December 07, 2020

Kito Lord, MD, MBA, uses his experience in business to streamline the administration of care as medical director for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Regional One Health at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

When Kito Lord, MD, MBA, arrived at Regional One Health and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, the emergency department (ED) was in need of emergency care.

The hospital had one of the nation's busiest trauma centers, and patients were waiting an hour or longer to be seen. Lord seized on ways to organize the ED's operations and expand its residency program.

"We've improved the quality of care for patients coming through the door," says Lord, who finished his residency in 2012 and is now the ED's medical director. "We've improved our time to see a patient... We've gotten that to under 20 minutes now."

It involved more than crunching numbers in spreadsheets. He saw how the emergency medicine department could work together more with the trauma center by making sure an ED physician was staffed in the trauma center at all times. And Lord leaned on what he learned during his MBA program to start to change the department's culture.

"I spent a lot of time explaining to staff why an alternative way of doing things was safer for the patients, and we involved everybody," says Lord.

Having an improved infrastructure in place made it easier for the ED to meet the pandemic's challenges. "We were already there, so we could be hyperfocused on COVID-19," Lord says. "We had a PPE supply line intact."

Since his arrival to the medical center in 2017, he also has pushed to create a local pipeline of emergency medicine specialists by expanding the center's emergency medicine residency program.

"A large portion of residents stay locally," he says, "so we want there to be a critical number of emergency medicine–trained physicians in the Memphis area."

As part of Medscape's celebration of our 25th anniversary this year, we're recognizing 25 young physicians who are rising stars in medicine, poised to become future leaders of their fields. View the full list here.


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