PinnacleHealth in Harrisburg, PA, is opening its PinnacleHealth Surgery Optimization Clinic to all high-risk orthopedic surgery patients, followed by high-risk surgical patients in other service lines by year’s end.
The program aims to improve patient satisfaction and overall health and to decrease surgical complications, readmissions, same-day surgery cancellations, and length of stay.
Before an elective surgery, PinnacleHealth’s surgeons refer high-risk patients to the clinic to assess health status. Consultations between the clinic’s registered nurses and certified registered nurse practitioners and patients are held over the phone or in person at the clinic.
“The PinnacleHealth Surgery Optimization Clinic is a multidisciplinary team approach to identifying and mitigating pre-surgical risks,” said John T. Cinicola, MD, medical director of the PinnacleHealth Surgery Optimization Clinic. “Optimizing health increases the odds for a successful procedure, and preventing complications means patients are less likely to return to the hospital.”
Conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco use, and being overweight or underweight can have negative effects on surgical outcomes. After the evaluation, the nurse will talk with the patient’s surgeon about medical conditions that may significantly increase the patient’s risk for surgery. As a result of these consultations, surgeons may recommend that patients improve their health before surgery. Interventions could include a new treatment, seeing another doctor for additional therapies, or recommending lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation.
Joseph Answine, MD, anesthesiologist with Riverside Anesthesia Associates, said, “The clinic broadens our perspective well beyond the surgical procedure. We look at the whole person. It may require improving kidney function, lung function, or the patient’s nutrition, but taking this holistic approach can result in reduced risk for infection and decreased recovery time and pain after surgery.”
The clinic also provides one-on-one pre-surgical education and coordinates care among the patient, primary care provider, surgeon, and anesthesiologist.
In January 2015, PinnacleHealth launched a peri-optimization program on a limited scale for elective total knee, total hip, and spine patients. Jack Frankeny, MD, CPE, CEO and executive director, the Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania in Camp Hill, said, “We found that patients who are engaged in their care prior to surgery have less anxiety and a better understanding of what to expect. Knowing that they have an active role in improving their health to achieve better outcomes offers a sense of empowerment. Patients realize they can influence what happens post-surgery.” At press time, the clinic was scheduled to open in August and is on the Polyclinic Campus in Harrisburg. (For more information, go to http://bit.ly/2a5uYoc.)