Posts by madisol

Care Coming into View

Posted on Aug 4, 2020 in Innovation, Scroll Images

Arleen Beviacqua-Enriquez

Arleen Beviacqua-Enriquez noticed two things about her body in the fall of 2019. First, an irregular mole, which the 65-year-old had already developed a trained eye to spot. Its irregular edges told a familiar tale. Moles are a hereditary condition passed down for generations in her family.

The second? A lump in her breast.

Beviacqua-Enriquez set the mole aside in her mind to focus on what she felt in her heart was the more critical issue: the lump. Working with the support of her Palo Alto Medical Foundation primary care doctor, Rebecca Ashe, M.D., Beviacqua-Enriquez went in for a diagnostic mammogram where it was confirmed she had breast cancer in November 2019. Surgery followed in December. The turn of the calendar—and the ushering in of a new year—brought the beginning of chemotherapy in January 2020.

Beviacqua-Enriquez remained focused on her breast cancer treatment for the next several months even as COVID-19 tore through the U.S. While the world grappled with the implications of this global health crisis, she navigated through her own. Despite being immunocompromised—not to mention feeling fatigued and vulnerable—her care team kept her medically necessary treatment on schedule. Once May finally arrived, she could see the finish line to her chemo.

But now that mole. It had started to tell a different story. It grew ugly—jagged, inflamed, painful. It bled.

“I knew I had to get back into the saddle about that dermatology appointment,” she said.

Rajiv Bhatnagar, M.D.

When she first contacted the dermatology office in May, Beviacqua-Enriquez learned the first in-person appointment wasn’t until September. Rajiv Bhatnagar, M.D., a dermatologist with Palo Alto Medical Foundation, suggested a video visit, which could happen as soon as the next day. Video visits have increased at an astonishing rate across Sutter’s not-for-profit integrated network since the outbreak of COVID-19 in California—providing a safe and convenient option for care. She accepted a video visit for the upcoming Monday. While she admits she isn’t the most tech-savvy person, she has familiarity with the format. Beviacqua-Enriquez, who works in sales for the airline industry, often conducts meetings with her colleagues via video.

In preparation for the visit, Dr. Bhatnagar suggested Beviacqua-Enriquez send pictures of her moles. The digital photo upload option was a new feature aiming to enhance the virtual care experience. She took nine photos from various angles, and after a few clicks, the images were securely off through the online patient portal.

“It’s a good feature,” she said.

When Dr. Bhatnagar previewed the images that Sunday before, plans dramatically shifted. He examined the photos and knew immediately that Beviacqua-Enriquez needed treatment. The video visit was cancelled. Instead, Dr. Bhatnagar spoke with a dermatological surgeon and oncologist, and arranged for the patient to come in the next day for an excision of her melanoma.

“Once you get past the shock, you learn to trust,” she said.

“We very rapidly learned how to deploy video and other telemedicine visits across every specialty within Sutter Health’s network, and saw immediately, as in Arleen’s case, how impactful this can be,” said Dr. Bhatnagar. “We’re continuously learning and improving upon how we deliver both traditional and telemedicine care. Access has taken on new meaning, and we know it can only help enhance outcomes and the overall care experience.”

Beviacqua-Enriquez continues her healing journey this summer. The native Northern Californian, along with husband and college-age son, will remain close to home. When the timing is right, they will hit up some of their favorite walks and trails around the peninsula.

Their quality time together is precious and not taken for granted. While Beviacqua-Enriquez’s video visit may have never happened, it opened the door for her to get immediate care she needed—to make these moments with her family a reality.

“These are changing times. Our lives will not be the same as before COVID. It’s changed everyone’s perceptions on many things,” she said. “You have to be open to different techniques and processes. We have to have other options and thank God we have it.”

Sutter Tracy Community Hospital Named to the Fortune/IBM Watson Health™ 100 Top Hospitals List

Posted on Jun 30, 2020 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Annual list recognizes excellence in clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, patient experience and financial stability

TRACY Calif.—Sutter Tracy Community Hospital today was named to the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list. This is the second time Sutter Tracy has earned this honor, with its first recognition taking place in 2015. The annual list was unveiled on Fortune.com.

IBM Watson Health has identified the top hospitals from a rigorous evaluation of 3,134 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals in the U.S. The annual list recognizes excellence in clinical outcomes, patient safety, patient experience, operational efficiency and financial stability. Truven Health Analytics, now an IBM Watson Health company, first established the list to help identify best practices that may help other healthcare organizations achieve consistent, balanced and sustainable outcomes.

“We work to understand and best serve the diverse needs of our community,” said David M. Thompson, CEO of Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, who has been with the medical center for 30 years. “Patient outcomes and patient experience go hand in hand. Our teams are extremely focused on exceeding the expectations of our patients and families while delivering safe, high-quality care.”

Sutter Tracy Community Hospital is the area’s only full service, acute care hospital, and serves more than 100,000 people in the Tri-Central Valley region. The hospital is part of Sutter Health’s not-for-profit, integrated network, which serves as a more user-friendly system by helping patients achieve healthier outcomes via greater access to quality programs and services at a lower total cost.

In 2016, Truven Health AnalyticsTM, the originator of the 100 Top Hospitals list, named Sutter Health and Sutter’s Valley Area – which includes Sutter Tracy – two of the nation’s top five performers among large healthcare systems. Other recent recognitions for Sutter Tracy include an Elite Plus Honor Roll award for stroke care in 2019 by the American Stroke Association and an “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” in 2019 by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

The Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals recognition demonstrates Sutter Tracy Community Hospital’s ongoing commitment to prioritize patient-centered care, particularly during this very challenging and unprecedented time. According to IBM Watson Health, as compared to similar hospitals, the hospitals included on the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list had better results on key clinical and operational performance indicators. These include survival rates, patient complications, healthcare-associated infections, 30-day mortality and 30-day hospital-wide readmission rates, length of stay, throughput in emergency rooms and ratings from patients.

“Hospitals, health systems and the dedicated clinicians and staff who work at these organizations have emerged as true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are grateful to be able to recognize these extraordinary leaders at this time,” said Kyu Rhee, M.D., MPP, vice president and chief health officer, IBM Watson Health. “From small community hospitals to major teaching hospitals, organizations on this list demonstrate a relentless commitment to high value, patient-centered care and innovation. It is clear that the COVID-19 crisis will be a catalyst for reinvention, and we believe these top-performing hospitals are positioned to emerge stronger and smarter out of this crisis.”

For more information, visit http://www.100tophospitals.com/.

Feeling Safe Amid Uncertainty

Posted on Jun 16, 2020 in Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Davis Hospital

Stephanie Myers & Garry Douglas, Sweden 2019

Garry Douglas is one who can appreciate a journey. He made his way from just outside the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Reservation near Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to Northern California in the early 1970s. He explored the majesty and mystery of national forests and grasslands through his job with the U.S. Forest Service. He travels the world with his wife, Stephanie Myers, to visit friends he’s made over the years. But nothing could have prepared Douglas for the journey he endured earlier this year: a diagnosis of COVID-19.

Douglas spent a week in Glasgow, Scotland, visiting a longtime friend before heading to Cambridge, England, for several days and then making the trek to London. He returned home to Winters, a small town in rural Yolo County, on March 16. He started to feel unwell a few days after returning, plagued by headaches and fatigue. After consulting with his physician, Carla Kakutani, M.D., Douglas visited an urgent care clinic where his flu test came back negative. His symptoms took a turn for the worse in the days ahead. The 68 year-old felt disoriented. Shaking with chills one moment, his temperature ratcheting up to 103 degrees the next. On March 30, he came to Sutter Davis Hospital’s emergency department and was eventually admitted.

For Douglas, his recollection of the journey pauses here for a moment. His exhaustion, coupled with the eventual sedation he went under in the intensive care unit, suspends time for him. But Myers picks up the tale – albeit secondhand. She wasn’t allowed to be with Douglas in the hospital because of the visitor limitations in place to limit the spread of coronavirus and protect patients and staff. Conversations with emergency department staff, and Carly Grovhoug, M.D., Myers’ primary care doctor, who works closely with Dr. Kakutani, act like the mile markers toward an unknown destination.

But the path eventually became clearer. The Sutter Davis ICU team was always responsive to her calls any time of the day to check on his status. Social worker Katie Tenerelli was also a “godsend” according to Myers.

“She talked through a lot of things with me, told me what he looked like,” she said.

Myers was eventually able to see him firsthand through the power of video visits with the help of staff as well. Initially, since Douglas was on a ventilator, verbal communication was limited at best.

“He could hear me, but he was out of it. I’d say, ‘Garry, open your eyes,” she said with a laugh.

A visit to Lake Superior, 2019

By the end of the second week, Douglas’ condition improved. He was growing more alert and eventually was removed from the ventilator. He always considered himself relatively healthy and active. But now his activity was limited to “belly band” exercises. Technically known as high-frequency chest wall oscillation, the procedure helps improve lung function. While connected to an airway clearance device, Douglas laid on his back with an elastic band around his abdomen that vibrated 25 minutes at a time. There were also the short-distance field trips—within his room—from the bed to the chair and back again.

“I was a total weakling since I hadn’t moved in two weeks,” he said.

But Douglas was moved by how the thoughtful gestures of Sutter Davis’ ICU staff continued. From the simplest acts of grabbing him coffee to hanging up photos from he and Myers’ wedding or some from their travels made him feel more comfortable, more at home.

Once Douglas was healthy and strong enough to go home, the entire Sutter Davis Hospital team pulled out all the stops. From the second floor on down to the first, through the lobby and even out the hospital’s main entrance, employees lined up for what seemed like miles to applaud his recovery and wish him well.

Douglas was taking his own victory lap to the cheers of adoring fans. It was a salute suited for a hero. And in the eyes of the Sutter Davis team, he was. At this unprecedented time with a lot of unknowns and unpredictability with the virus, he was just as much of a symbol of hope and perseverance to them as they had been for him.

Douglas and Myers are back at home now, adjusting to the new normal. Douglas had a fairly detailed after-care plan that included a home health care nurse and physical therapy visits twice a week coordinated through Sutter Care at Home. Plus, he had a series of other medications and vitamins to take. He is making progress every day and relishes the comforts of home, but reflects back fondly on those he met at Sutter Davis Hospital throughout this uncharted territory of COVID-19.

“It was such a good feeling…to me it just showed how caring they were,” he said.

Clean Machines: How Disinfecting Robots are Helping the Frontlines

Posted on Jun 8, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

It’s not a scene from science fiction. But the battle is real against germs inside hospitals and care centers. And standing alongside healthcare professionals and cleaning crews on the frontlines? Disinfecting robots.

High-tech “clean machines” are more widely used than ever in healthcare—and have been an especially welcome in the arsenal against COVID-19. Integrated health networks like Sutter Health have had them in practice for several years, setting the stage for safety for patients and staff alike.

“Our UV robots help combat against C. diff, MRSA and multi-drug resistant organisms in the hospital,” said Brett Laurence, M.D., Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento’s chief of infection control. “The UV light rays disinfect high-touch surfaces and procedural areas to improve and ensure patient safety.”

Disinfecting robots are featured at California Pacific Medical Center, Memorial Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Roseville Medical Center and Sutter Tracy Community Hospital. They have even been used inside the Rural Health Clinic in Los Banos.

Sutter Health has taken other steps to make patients feel welcome and safe upon returning to network care centers, as well. In addition to increased frequency of cleanings, Sutter has adopted universal masking for staff and patients, set up temperature check stations and moved or marked furniture to promote physical distancing in waiting rooms.

“The health and well-being of our patients, employees and clinicians is a top priority,” said Sean R. Townsend, M.D., vice president of quality and safety at California Pacific Medical Center. “We are combining the power of science with sensible approaches all in the name of safety.”

Even as Communities Open Up, Keep Your Distance

Posted on May 27, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images

It may have felt re-energizing to see and hear many Americans gathering at beaches, pools, parks and other public places this past Memorial Day weekend, but health experts caution others to not let their guard down.

“As communities across Northern California start to reopen, we need to remember that COVID-19 hasn’t stopped being infectious,” said Conrad Vial, M.D., chief clinical officer for Sutter Health. “We can’t undermine the physical distancing measures that have been implemented and the impact they have had on slowing the spread of the virus.”

Protecting Yourself, Loved Ones and Friends

Now more than ever, Northern Californians need to remain vigilant about their safety and their health. Bill Isenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Sutter Health’s chief quality and safety officer, shares these important reminders:

• Limit gatherings of any kind. Now is still not the time for parties or potlucks, but virtual gatherings continue to be a viable option.

• Be mindful of your physical space. Always practice physical distancing and stay at least six feet away from others.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Wear a face covering or mask when inside public buildings and businesses.