It's the biggest 1-year-old in town.

It's the biggest 1-year-old in town.

Dublin Methodist Hospital will celebrate its first birthday Jan. 8.

While employees will commemorate a year of "firsts" with a celebration at the hospital, the city of Dublin and its residents also have reason to celebrate, hospital president Cheryl Herbert said.

The hospital brought more jobs and income to the city, gave residents more direct access to care and enabled the Washington Township Fire Department to get patients to the hospital more quickly.

Of the 2,000 patients the fire department transported in 2008, about 1,500 were taken to Dublin Methodist, said EMS manager Jack McCoy.

Now that EMS squads don't always have to take patients to hospitals farther away, the time to transport a patient to a hospital has been reduced from 20 minutes to seven minutes, McCoy said.

The decreased run times have freed up about 800 additional hours for EMS squads.

"The guys love it," McCoy said. "Like they say, 'A rested fireman is a ready fireman.' "

"Before the hospital was built, the minimum (EMS squads) were going to be out, which included treating, transporting and getting back (to the fire station), is about one hour and 15 minutes," said fire Chief Al Woo. "But now we take calls after 7 a.m. and the guys are back in quarters to go off duty at 8 a.m."

These statistics also mean patients have an increased chance for survival, McCoy said. He also said families arrive at the hospital more quickly and are more familiar with it because it's so close to their homes.

"The best thing you can do for a community is build a hospital," McCoy said. "It brings more to the table than I could ever talk about."

Herbert said patients have given positive feedback. On patient satisfaction surveys, the hospital consistently receives high percentages for how patients feel during their stays and the level of care they receive.

"I always hear people comment about how much they love the sunlight," said Dr. James Homsy. "There's an overwhelming sense that patients approve of the care they receive and how much of a different experience than they've had at other hospitals."

In 2009, the hospital will begin research to determine if the design, which incorporates natural light and colors associated with nature, influences the quality of care that patients receive and the financial performance of the institution.

"We publicly said at the beginning we want to redefine the way patient care is provided in central Ohio," Herbert said. "I believe we've done that."

The biggest challenge for hospital staff in the past year was the conversion to an all-digital hospital, Homsy said.

"We've learned a lot with the conversion to digital records," he said. "It's been a challenge, but a great one."

The change to digital gives patients more access to their medical records, including the ability to see things like lab results in real time and X-rays on a computer at their bedsides.

"I think we've served as role models for hospitals in the city and country," Herbert said. "We get requests for tours from all around the county and the world. I'm humbled by the fact we've been able to share the information with other hospitals."