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Real-Time Research: Using Insights to Help Healthcare Today and Tomorrow

Posted on Apr 20, 2019 in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Research, Scroll Images, Transformation

SAN FRANCISCO – New research shows that weight loss during the first 12 weeks of a year-long behavioral lifestyle program can predict which participants will achieve weight loss after completing the program. This revelation, along with several others, were shared by Sutter Health’s Center for Health Systems Research (CHSR) during the recent annual meeting of the Health Care Systems Research Network (HCSRN) in Portland.

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Robotic Germ Zapper Helps Bring Down Infectious Disease

Posted on Apr 18, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

SAN FRANCISCO –A germ-zapping robot called LightStrike from Xenex is used at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) hospitals to help curb the spread of infectious diseases. This mobile robotic device is used in intensive care units, medical surgery units, operating rooms and in rooms where patients suffering from Clostridioides difficile (also known as C. diff), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other microorganisms, were discharged. CPMC, part of Sutter Health’s integrated network of care in Northern California, now employs this mobile robotic technology at all campus locations—with a total of seven in operation.

The LightStrike robot emits 67 bright pulses of (UV) light per second that bounce into walls, floors, ceilings and hard-to-clean places where manual cleaning might miss. The UV light is absorbed by and fuses the DNA of microorganisms, causing the cell to break apart and dissolve, deactivating pathogens. A patient room can be disinfected in less than 15 minutes using this system.

The LightStrike robot is not a replacement for manual disinfecting and cleaning by staff. It is another tool used in the hospitals to enhance staffs’ efforts to combat infectious diseases and to create a safer, cleaner environment for patients and their families.

Internal data shows a decline in infectious diseases at CPMC due to an overarching effort associated with training, improved hand hygiene, and diligence in disinfecting patient rooms after discharge — which includes the use of the Xenex technology.

Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento and Sutter Roseville Medical Center –CPMC’s sister hospitals in the Valley — also use the Xenex germ-zapping robots to assist in their efforts to disinfect rooms. They have also seen similar declines in rates of infectious diseases.

 

Collaboration Leads to Reduction in Low-Risk, First-Birth C-sections

Posted on Apr 17, 2019 in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Quality, Scroll Images, Women's Services

By Katarina Lannér-Cusin, M.D., administrative medical director, Women’s Services, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

 

BERKELEY, Calif. – One of the advantages that an integrated healthcare delivery network like Sutter Health has is that its clinicians are able to improve quality by studying the experience and practice patterns of fellow clinicians. An example of this is our work to support vaginal delivery by reducing the rate of cesarean sections for low-risk, first-time births.

Katarina Lannér-Cusin, M.D., Administrative Medical Director, Women’s Services, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

Sutter Health’s low-risk, first-birth C-section rate is among the lowest in California, with nine hospitals receiving recognition in 2017. Sutter’s average rate of 21.2 percent is lower than the state’s Healthy People 2020 target of 23.9 percent and the 2016 California Maternity Quality Care Collaborative target of 22.2 percent.
Sutter’s integrated network enables sharing of best practices and real-time data for continual process and quality improvement, which allows the network to outperform state and national averages in many quality measures and improve outcomes for the communities it serves. Sutter hospitals are leaders in California in lowering C-section rates—notably low-risk, first-birth C-section rates.

Sutter is a member of the California Maternity Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), a multi-stakeholder organization committed to ending preventable morbidity, mortality and racial health disparities in California. Partnering with CMQCC and the California Health Care Foundation, Sutter is leading a labor culture campaign to proactively educate first-time mothers about C-sections and encourage them to engage with their care teams to support vaginal birth and avoid C-sections for low-risk pregnancies.

There are several key drivers that have been instrumental to achieve real progress in decreasing C-section rates in the Sutter network of care.

• The first and most important driver is effective communication and teamwork—a joint commitment by the clinical team (nurses, midwife and physician) to create a great supportive environment for patients.

• The second driver is alignment on best practices for labor support, including collaborative labor management and education. Sutter adopted a checklist in labor and delivery that establishes parameters clinicians need to complete before deciding on a C-section. The teams work collaboratively using the checklist to ensure that all best practices for supporting a vaginal birth have been implemented. Additionally, labor support education has been developed for nurses, midwives and physicians.

• The third driver is maternal agency—a birth preference sheet was created to educate new mothers about choices they make that may increase their likelihood of a vaginal delivery and give them the opportunity to talk with their physician or midwife about these choices before birth.

• Finally, a large component of lowering low-risk, first-time birth C-section rates is the open sharing of physician-level rates among peers. This transparency creates the opportunity for dialogue and shared learning among clinicians. Each group is encouraged to discuss these rates internally and come up with a plan to address any issues uncovered by the data.

Sutter Health is working to ensure that every patient receives the highest quality maternity care for herself and for her baby. For more information, please visit Pregnancy and Childbirth Services.

One of Nation’s Top Residency Programs is Magnet for Future Family Doctors

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 in People, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency Program Selects 12 Graduates for Class of 2022

SANTA ROSA-Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital (SSRRH) Family Medicine Residency Program announced its 2019 incoming class who will graduate the program in 2022.  Twelve of the nation’s top medical school graduates were selected from 747 applicants for this three-year program. The nationally recognized Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency program is one of 450 family medicine training programs in the United States and has trained hundreds of family physicians since its inception in 1938.

The 12 graduates who will begin the training program in July came from medical schools across the country; Drexel University, University of California Irvine, Texas Tech University, University of California Davis, Michigan State, University of Washington, Western University, Geisel School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts, Wayne State University, University of Maryland, and University of Wisconsin. They each come with an impressive background of academic achievement and community service.

The residency program is a critical strategic healthcare asset in confronting the emerging physician shortage in Sonoma County. The residency has been the largest single source of family physicians to Sonoma County for over 70+ years.  Residency graduates comprise nearly half of family physicians in Sonoma County. They fill private practices, community clinics, and large medical groups such as Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods, The Permanente Medical Group, local community health centers, Sonoma County Health Services and leadership positions throughout the medical community.

The Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency is under the sponsorship of Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital (SSRRH). To provide a broader base of support for the residency and optimize learning experiences for residents, SSRRH engaged Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and or St. Josephs Health as affiliate partners in the community.

About the Sutter Health Family Medicine Residency Program

With the initiation of formal training in general practice dating back to 1938, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital (and formerly Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa) has an established tradition of excellent training of family physicians with the strong support of community physicians and specialists. In 1969, the program became affiliated with what has since become the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Sutter’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program First in Area to Receive National Accreditation

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 in Cardiac, Innovation, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Medical Foundation, Uncategorized

The Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento Adult Congenital Heart Disease team includes ACHD Medical Director Pei-Hsiu Huang, M.D., right, and ACHD Clinic Coordinator Zilda Crist, left. They are shown with Chelsea Byrnes, who was born with a rare condition and was told she could never have children. She now has given birth twice at Sutter Medical Center, thanks to the advanced care of the ACHD team.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In recognition of its expertise in serving adults with congenital heart disease (CHD), Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento earned accreditation from the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), a nationwide organization focused on connecting patients, family members and healthcare providers to form a community of support and a network of experts with knowledge of CHD.

Individuals with CHD, the most common birth defect diagnosed in one in 100 births, are living longer. There are 1.4 million adults in the U.S. living with one of many different types of congenital heart defects, ranging among simple, moderate and complex.

“We find that patients born with a heart defect who have graduated from the care of a pediatric cardiologist frequently do not continue their care with a cardiologist with specific expertise in treating adults with congenital heart disease, and sometimes do not have a cardiologist at all,” said Pei-Hsiu Huang, M.D., medical director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program and Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. “As Sacramento’s first and only adult congenital heart disease program, we are excited to be recognized by the ACHA for providing ACHD patients, many of whom may not otherwise be seeing a cardiologist regularly, the best and most appropriate care.”

Pediatric Heart Surgeon Teimour Nasirov, M.D., left, is a member of the Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento ACHD team. In 2018, Dr. Nasirov repaired RJ Laffins’ atrial septal defect, which went undetected for 55 years. Laffins, right, is now winning cycling races thanks to his increased energy after the surgery.

The ACHA accreditation program aims to improve the quality of care ACHD patients receive by introducing standards for the infrastructure and the type of care ACHD programs provide. The Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program received accreditation by meeting ACHA’s criteria, which includes medical services and personnel requirements, and going through a rigorous accreditation process, both of which were developed over a number of years through a collaboration with doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and ACHD patients.

“There are now more adults than children in the U.S. with CHD,” said Mark Roeder, President and CEO of ACHA. “Accreditation will elevate the standard of care and have a positive impact on the futures of those living with this disease. Coordination of care is key, and this accreditation program will make care more streamlined for ACHD patients, improving their quality of life.”

There are now 27 ACHA ACHD Accredited programs throughout the United States. The only other programs in California outside the greater Sacramento area that have been accredited are at UCLA and Stanford.

The Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento provides comprehensive cardiovascular care throughout a patient’s life. Specialized multisciplinary teams combine the resources and clinical expertise including high-risk obstetrics services and pediatric cardiovascular program, the comprehensive adult cardiovascular program including the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. Pediatric and adult heart disease specialists include board certified cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, obstetricians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, nurses, registered dietitians, financial coordinators, pharmacists and genetic counselors.

About the Adult Congenital Heart Association

The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and extending the lives of adults with congenital heart disease (CHD). ACHA serves and supports the more than one million adults with CHD, their families and the medical community—working with them to address the unmet needs of the long-term survivors of congenital heart defects through education, outreach, advocacy, and promotion of ACHD research. For more information about ACHA, contact 888-921-ACHA or visit www.ACHAHeart.org.

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The ACHA ACHD Accreditation Program was partially funded by Actelion Pharmaceuticals U.S., Inc. ACHA and Actelion Pharmaceuticals have partnered together since 2007 to support the CHD community.

For more information about ACHA, or to schedule an interview with Mark Roeder, please contact Terri Schaefer at 215-849-1260 or tschaefer@achaheart.org.

For Volunteers, Rewards Come in Helping Patients –And Getting Smiles Back

Posted on Apr 11, 2019 in Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Scroll Images

Kelly Robutz, volunteer coordinator at PAMF’s Mountain View Center, shares a moment with volunteers Donald Holthaus and Noreen Ryker.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — How would you like the most important task in your job to be providing that special touch that makes patients feel comfortable when they visit the doctor? To welcome them, smile at them, perhaps engage them in conversation, help with a wheelchair, give directions or arrange for a taxi?

Those are some of the high touch tasks performed by almost 150 volunteers who spend time at Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) offices in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, San Carlos and Sunnyvale. National Volunteer Week, observed April 7-13 this year, is a good time to highlight the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to brighten a patient’s day, share their compassion and help build stronger communities.

Donald Holthaus and Noreen Ryker, two longtime volunteers, say it’s one of the best jobs in the world.

“I am so very happy that I am a volunteer,’’ said Holthaus, a retired engineer who has helped out at PAMF’s Sunnyvale Center since 2012. “I meet a lot of wonderful people here – -they are just like old friends.”

Noreen Ryker, who retired from banking, has been a volunteer at the Mountain View Center for twelve years.

“If patients want to talk, then you talk a bit,” Ryker said of her role at the front desk. “If they don’t, you smile and sometimes they look downcast, but then they smile back. It makes it all worthwhile.’’

Ryker, Holthaus and members of their families are patients at PAMF, and they say volunteering is one way they show their appreciation for the skilled care they have received over the years.

“For the most part, the volunteers are the first face a patients sees,’’ said Adrineh Poulatian, PAMF’s director of patient experience. “They set the tone and bring that positivity and passion and empathy – that is part of their DNA.’’

In addition to welcoming patients, volunteers serve on the Patient Advisory Council, which is made up of patient advisors who review information, communication materials and participate in improvement work for clinical programs to make sure a patient’s perspective is represented.

Students volunteer during the summer, usually helping at the Urgent Care Centers in Los Gatos and Mountain View.

Several volunteers bring dogs to visit with patients at the Cancer Center in Sunnyvale, arranged through a partnership with the Peninsula Humane Society.

“Our volunteers are a wonderful resource,” said David Quincy, M.D., Area CEO, Sutter Bay Medical Foundation, South Bay. “Our patients are always telling us they appreciate help from volunteers, and that they make a difference in a patient’s visit. The volunteers add even more to our patient-centered approach.”

Poulatian, Kelly Robutz and Anamarie Rodriguez, coordinators for the volunteer program, said they are impressed by how committed the volunteers are to making sure the patient has a good experience.

Some of the volunteers have retired from a career working for PAMF. And some of the students who have volunteered at PAMF have gone on to study medicine and pursue careers as physicians.

Last year, volunteers clocked 23,000 hours working at PAMF clinics.

Volunteers often go above and beyond their commitment. Holthaus volunteers two days a week starting at 8 a.m. But he often gets to the Sunnyvale Center earlier so he can help patients who are going to the lab that opens at 7 a.m.

And then there are “Madeleine Mornings” – the times when he brings madeleine cookies to the receptionists.

And there are more sobering times.  Holthaus recalled a woman who came out of a doctor’s office crying due to a difficult diagnosis for a family member.

“All you can do is give them a hug,” he said, adding that the woman calmed down.

“It can be hard, but I love it,’’ he said of his experiences as a volunteer.

For more information about volunteering at Sutter Health, please visit Volunteering at Sutter Health.