In doing his job, Santana got to see the internal operations of many laboratory facilities across the state. That’s when he began to notice an ongoing lack of personalized care, compounded by high prices and long wait times (both for the patient’s on-site wait time and for their results to be delivered).
“The patient was not being put first. Likewise, neither were the physicians or the facilities who depended on those labs to deliver timely and accurate results,” Santana says. “Everywhere I looked, it was another upside-down paradigm—another case of ‘the tail wagging the dog.’ ” Santana had seen firsthand that, although many clinical laboratories talked about patient-focused care, most labs did not deliver with the hard work and dedication it took to create such an experience. “I began to think to myself,” Santana says, “’I’m bringing to life all these labs for other companies – why not bring to life a lab of my own?’” Envisioning an opportunity in the existing market—for a focus truly based on service, value, and timely accuracy—Santana shared his thoughts with his longtime friend, Nathan Hawkins (Vista co-founder).
Seeing the need for an organization like Vista, Santana contacted Hawkins. “For three hours on the phone, we bounced ideas off each other—ideas that would become Vista,” Hawkins says. “Even though I’d just received a promotion and built a new home in Pennsylvania, by the end of that phone call I was already planning my move to Florida.” Soon after, Hawkins joined Santana in Florida.
Working a combined total of 200 hours a week, Santana and Hawkins continued working as clinical systems engineers by day before putting in another shift every night at what would later become Vista. Leveraging their homes, assets, and time to bring their vision to life, the partners put everything they had into building their laboratory by hand. Santana and Hawkins realized their vision when Vista Clinical Diagnostics was incorporated in July 2003 and opened its doors for business in January 2004.
Headquartered in Clermont, Florida, Vista Clinical is currently contracted with over 150 skilled nursing homes throughout Florida and services over 200 assisted living facilities. The company recently expanded collection territory to include North Carolina and Virginia. Vista Clinical services walk-in patients from its 40+ service locations.
Clinical specimens are tested at the state-of-the-art, 35,000 square foot facility in Clermont, as well as laboratories in Lake City and Danville, VA. The current clinical laboratory services offered include: Pathology and a variety of blood tests – the scope of which include chemistry, coagulation, immunochemistry, hematology, microbiology, molecular testing, serology, urinalysis, and molecular testing. Vista also has a Microbiology Department with a full test menu and excellent turnaround time on all testing.
The company is fully licensed by the State of Florida with full accreditation through CAP.
Based on the ethics of higher quality healthcare, at an affordable price, with excellent service, Davian Santana has grown his vision from a little laboratory in Minneola, Florida to the outstanding corporation it is today.
We sought to bring humanity back to an industry that has become a commodity – Davian Santana
In the very beginning, Vista recognized how impersonal lab work had become. “We took something that was unfeeling and clinical,” Owen says, “and brought back humanity to it. This comes from the top and trickles all the way down. For example, one of our elderly patients, with the onset of dementia, was having a hard time. The daughter called to ask if anyone could be sent to the home as her mother was having difficulty getting up. Our phlebotomist did not hesitate in going to the home and obtaining the sample. People caring for people: That’s what it’s all about.”
“Our patients and clients also help determine where we go, and what we change,” Santana adds. “At Vista, we affect one patient at a time, and, when we’re successful with that one patient: Mission accomplished. When we do that for 6,000 to 7,000 patients a day: Mission accomplished. And we do it all with a percentage of error that’s practically nonexistent — less than 1%. However, within that 1%, what matters is how we correct it, what we do next, how we grow and change.”