"We are very excited to launch NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute," says Jason Koh, MD, Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem, and Director of the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute. "In many ways, it's built on the longstanding collaborations we've had between physicians, nurses and the hospital system for many years. For us, this is a way we can enhance the services we provide here for orthopedics to the region and nation."
The comprehensive NOI program includes in their team of specialists:
• Physical therapiests
• Occupational therapists
• Athletic trainers
"We have a real team approach to patient care here," says Kristen Murtos, President of NorthShore Skokie Hospital in Skokie, Illinois. "What that means is we have people with tremendous expertise — in many cases they are acknowledged as national and global leaders — providing services. You are not just getting treatment from one point of view; you get expertise in a whole range of treatment from non-surgical management and therapy to the most advanced minimally invasive or regenerative techniques."
Quality of care must also be strong. "Our total joint care has been recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as having some of the best outcomes in the nation," says Dr. Koh.
The federal government is paying more attention to patient satisfaction and complication rates, and rewarding those at the top while penalizing those at the bottom. "The quality of care really makes a huge different," says Ms. Murtos. "It pays off in the outcomes assessment by the federal government."
The care is also individualized for each patient.
"We are able to provide patients with timely care based on their needs," says Dr. Koh. "We use an algorithm tailored to the patient's issues. There is a walk-in clinics so patients can come in, receive a rapid assessment and begin treatment almost immediately. Basically, our goal is for patients to be accurately assessed and placed in a care program tailored to their needs."
The patients can see different providers based on their needs at different points in their treatment. Patients can often achieve their goals non-surgically, but if surgery is necessary, the surgeons may use minimally invasive procedures. The different specialists use an electronic medical record system to communicate about patients and stay updated on each case.
"Because we have a sophisticated EMR system that has been in place for more than a decade, we have a coordination of care between our team of providers," says Dr. Koh. Everyone in our system is up-to-date on the patient's condition. I can pick up notes on PT as soon as the patient finishes the visit. Providers can also connect with their care teams electronically."
Throughout NOI's development phase, physicians and staff collected patient feedback and conducted focus groups to design a program that would support the whole patient.
"Our patient education came out of those feedback sessions," says Ms. Murtos. Patients want information in advance, but the information can often be complex, so we deliver that information and reinforce it at different times throughout their treatment. Our total joint patients participate in an advanced course to know how their physical therapy facilities their rehabilitation."
The patients receive an educational packet about their PT before surgery and staff members work with them so they understand the surgical and recovery process. NOI was also able to dedicate a floor that has everything orthopedic patients need to optimize their rehabilitation.
"Our patients say they've had a wonderful experience at the hospital and feel well supported during their hospitalization," says Dr. Koh. "Part of that is the educational program we do beforehand and our support services. We have a real patient-centered culture here. Part of our mission and belief spread throughout the caretakers and staff members is creating that great patient experience."
Everyone at NOI who interacts with patients is part of the team supporting patients in their recovery — whether it's the person delivering food, cleaning rooms or performing surgery. Surgeons and researchers are also able to support future patients through advanced research and development. Dr. Koh and his colleagues are working on techniques to treat tissue damage, trauma, innovative cell therapies and tissue transplant, among others. The research in these areas has won national awards.
"Because we've had more than 85 years of teaching experience at the university level we are extending our fellowship program and using our center for simulation to train surgeons from around the world who come visit us," says Dr. Koh. We are hosting a group of international fellows next year. We are also going to use EMR to look back and see 10 years worth of patient experience to help identify how we can best prepare patients for surgery and streamline their experience while they are here."
Many of the patients arriving at NOI travel long distances for care. In the future, Dr. Koh says NOI hopes to expand accessibility for patients and continue to provide leadership in musculoskeletal care.
"It's an exciting time for us and we are happy to continue to build on a strong foundation. I really think we will be able to provide comprehensive care in a way that hasn't been performed before," says Dr. Koh. "A lot of patients can benefit from comprehensive care and our expanded services because we have the full spectrum of care; all our bases are covered."
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