story by Kelly Harley photos by Tonya Perry
Dr. John Bennet works hard to better himself and the healthcare industry. With years of experience under his belt, his career in the industry has certainly blossomed. In 2017, he was named chief medical officer (CMO) and chief medical information officer (CMIO) for Effingham Health System (EHS), a position that requires a high level of dedication and commitment to excellence. This position also requires leadership oversight for the Medical Staff Governing Body and the design of the healthcare delivery model across the health system.
As CMO/CMIO for EHS, Dr. Bennett is a physician who is championing the selection and procurement of a replacement electronic health record system. “We are faced with workflow challenges managing multiple systems. As we grow, we need an infrastructure that will support our operational needs, and our delivery of safe and quality care to the patients we serve. Having one system to replace three will greatly improve efficiency and work satisfaction,” says Dr. Bennett.
Dr. Bennett works closely with the chief executive officer, department directors, physicians, and hospital staff to ensure that the highest standards of quality and service are maintained. He oversees the implementation of quality improvement efforts designed to enhance clinical performance and maintain compliance with accreditation standards. He also evaluates developments in medical care and makes recommendations for new practices and procedures.
For Dr. Bennett, being a doctor wasn’t his first career choice. After graduating from Georgia Tech, he spent several years as a civil and environmental engineer. A visit from a friend who had attended medical school sparked an interest in Dr. Bennett. “At that point in my career, I was working with biotechnology as an option for decontaminating industrial sites so I had developed a good knowledge of microbiology. Our conversations during her visit basically planted the seed of curiosity about medicine and the human equation,” says Dr. Bennett. “I wanted to learn, so I went to medical school. My wife always says grass would never grow under my feet since I am always moving forward taking on the challenge of learning new things.”
Dr. Bennett obtained a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. After completing residency at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, he moved to Atlanta to practice medicine. He then built a successful practice in Cumming, Georgia, that focused on outpatient internal medicine. He also assisted in building an Urgent Care in Atlanta.
In 2013, he was recruited by EHS to work as an internist in the Port Wentworth medical office and to assist in the development of ECB (Effingham-Chatham-Bryan) Occupational Medicine. In addition, he shared rotational weekends with other area physicians as a hospitalist at EHS. In 2014, EHS lost one full-time hospitalist and he stepped up to fill that position. The following year, Dr. Bennett moved away from traditional primary care to become a full-time hospitalist for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Savannah. During his off weeks, he continued to work for EHS as the director of Occupational Medicine. He also filled in as a hospitalist as needed.
No matter the role Dr. Bennett takes on at EHS, there is one thing that doesn’t change and that’s his commitment to his work and those he serves. “I understand the challenges happening in healthcare and challenges faced by small hospitals,” says Dr. Bennett. “Working at EHS gives me the opportunity to be a part of that in the most rewarding way, which centers around the people I work with and the patients I care for.”