“There are so many things from the business world we can adapt to medicine,” Dr. Kito Lord, emergency medicine director at Regional One Health, said.

It’s not every day that you see “MBA” after a physician’s name, but it’s a big part of the story that brought Kito Akin Lord, MD, MBA to Regional One Health. Dr. Lord combines his acumen for operation efficiencies and medicine in his role as medical director of Regional One Health’s Department of Emergency Medicine, a position he assumed in September 2017.

Dr. Lord grew up in Philadelphia where he attended Central High School. He was a member of the basketball and football teams and served as class treasurer. Following graduation, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was originally a business major but switched to biology and began to consider a career in medicine.

He found inspiration from his parents.

“My mom is a school teacher and dad is a lawyer. He does housing advocacy for tenants,” Dr. Lord said. “I came from a family that’s really involved in the community. That’s probably the biggest impression growing up is that you help people. I realized I could be useful in certain areas.”

Dr. Lord graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from Howard University in 2010. While at Howard he got involved on a larger scale in operations and administration, serving as class president.

“That’s when I started to test the waters of organization,” he said. “We had a new curriculum so we partnered with the administration to help students. We were a well-organized machine.”

When it was time to consider a specialty the school’s dean asked Dr. Lord to consider emergency medicine.

“I loved it. I loved the spontaneity and the community aspect of emergency medicine where people work as a team for one patient,” he said.

Dr. Lord completed his emergency medicine residency at Yale. He spent a lot of time in operations, resident development, mentoring and working to make the program better, and realized he needed additional skills to move forward in that side of his professional interests. He enrolled in the Yale University School of Management and graduated with a Master of Business Administration.

“There are so many things from the business world we can adapt to medicine,” Dr. Lord said. “The question of wait times has been mastered by companies because it affects the bottom line. We can extrapolate how long it takes someone to wait and get them through our systems. We know how many people will come to the ED daily and what the bed capacity will be, usually, so going forward these are tools I hope hospitals will use to be proactive rather than reactive to our patients.”

After graduating from Yale, Dr. Lord served as the assistant medical director at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia where he was responsible for operational improvements.

Along with that work, Dr. Lord has supported Regional One Health’s ONE Health effort, which launched last summer as a way to find a new concept in care to keep the most vulnerable residents of the Mid-South healthier. Manager of Complex Care Megan Williams said Dr. Lord’s leadership in helping providers have authentic relationships with patients while treating the whole person is key, especially since the Emergency Department is often the first point of contact for high utilizers.

“When dealing with complex patients it takes special people to understand those patients. Dr. Lord is driving the change for the ED and he’s vital for our work to help our high utilizers,” Williams said. “Dr. Lord is helping us make the continuity of care seamless.”

Dr. Lord’s vision for team care will foster future innovation for emergency care and beyond.

“You can have the best stroke team in the world but if you can’t get a patient to the CT scanner quick enough, the team can’t help the patient,” Dr. Lord said. “That’s where operations make a difference. Our goal is to serve our patients. Whether it’s a nurse manager or tech who has the best idea, we all win with the best idea no matter where it originates.”