Sutter Lakeside Hospital Welcomes Scott Knight as Chief Administrative Officer

Posted on Feb 13, 2020 in Carousel, People, Scroll Images, Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Uncategorized

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Sutter Health announced today it has selected Scott Knight as chief administrative officer of Sutter Lakeside Hospital, effective Feb. 3. Knight was previously Assistant Administrator of Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

“Scott is committed to serving the community, as he demonstrated by serving on the boards of both the Tracy and Ripon Chambers of Commerce,” said Julie Petrini, president and CEO of Hospitals, Sutter Health Bay Area. “I know Scott is eager to bring this passion for community to his new role at Sutter Lakeside.”

About Scott Knight

Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Health Care Administration from University of Washington. Scott has a broad healthcare background in finance, revenue cycle, planning, business development, marketing and community relations, operations, and administration.

While at Sutter Tracy, Scott provided leadership for non-nursing operations and business development. During his tenure, Sutter Tracy received patient safety awards from various organizations, and in 2020 was awarded a CMS 5-star rating – the highest ranking possible – for overall performance on quality measures including readmission rates, safety of care and patient experience.

About Sutter Health

Sutter Health is more than 60,000 people strong thanks to its integrated network of physicians, employees and volunteers. Rooted in Sutter Health’s not-for-profit mission, these team members partner to deliver exceptional care that feels personal. From physician offices to hospitals to outpatient care centers and home services, they proudly support the more than 3 million people in their care—nearly 1 percent of the U.S. population, in one of the most diverse and innovative regions in the world. Sutter team members adopt new technologies, make novel discoveries and embrace creative thinking to help patients and communities achieve their best health. From its street nurse program that provides check-ups for homeless people, to telemedicine-aided specialist consultations, to walk-in care clinics, to video visits, the Sutter Health team goes beyond traditional models to make care more convenient and to nurture and empower people throughout their healthcare journey.

For more information about the Sutter Health network visit: sutterhealth.org| facebook.com/sutterhealth| youtube.com/sutterhealth| twitter.com/sutterhealth

To Prevent Stroke, Start with the Heart

Posted on Feb 13, 2020 in Affiliates, Cardiac, Carousel, Expanding Access, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Neuroscience, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, We're Awesome, Women's Services

BURLINGAME, Calif. – Does it sometimes feel like there are butterflies in your chest? Does your heart race or skip a beat? If it’s not your crush making your heart go pitter-pat, it could be a common heart condition called atrial fibrillation or AFib for short. This Valentine’s Day, take heart and consider seeing an expert if you are experiencing these symptoms. After all, AFib dramatically increases the odds of having a life-threatening stroke.

“Stroke occurs when arteries in the brain are either blocked by a blood clot or burst under high pressure,” said Ilana Spokoyny, M.D., neurologist who cares for patients at Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. “So when we talk about stroke prevention, it’s natural that we emphasize how to keep clots from forming or keep blood pressure regulated—and both start with the heart.”

Heart health and stroke prevention were the focus of a recent educational event, hosted by United Airlines, and led by Sutter Health. Attendees toured Northern California’s only Mobile Stroke Unit – a specialized ambulance that has the staff and equipment on-board to start stroke treatment while enroute to a hospital – and heard from the unit’s director, Dr. Spokoyny, about two common heart conditions that increase stroke risk.

Atrial fibrillation

AFib is caused when the upper part of your heart beats out of sync with the lower half. While not usually life-threatening by itself, AFib alters the normal function of the heart which leads to the formation of blood clots in the heart. Eventually these clots are pumped out of the heart and can travel to the brain where they causes a stroke.

According to Dr. Spokoyny, nearly one in every six strokes is the result of AFib, and these strokes are often more serious. “Not only are AFib patients nearly five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without the condition, AFib-related strokes are nearly twice as fatal and twice as disabling as non-AFib-related strokes.”

“AFib may be asympomatic or symptoms show up intermittently, and because they come and go many people don’t take them seriously,” Dr. Spokoyny explained. “We need to spread the word that you shouldn’t ignore the butterfly feeling in your chest or dismiss the occasional fatigue or shortness of breath you experience.” When diagnosed, AFib is treatable with medication or medical procedures, including surgery, to reduce your risk of stroke.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure increases the strain on blood vessels transporting blood throughout your body. When blood is routinely pumped through arteries at a higher than optimal pressure, the arteries may become weakened or narrowed, creating conditions where they burst or clog more easily.

Dr. Spokoyny reminds patients that high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke. “About three out of four people who have a stroke for the first time have high blood pressure.” High blood pressure often presents along with atrial fibrillation. The good news is that blood pressure can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications.

Expertise in action

Not-for-profit Sutter Health encourages doctors to work across specialties to ensure that patients receive high quality, coordinated care. Sutter includes sixteen Primary Stroke Centers across its integrated network.

Fourteen Sutter Hospitals Honored for Reducing C-Sections

Posted on Dec 13, 2019 in Pediatric Care, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Women's Services

Cal Hospital Compare award recognizes hospitals meeting national goal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sutter hospitals, which have among the lowest cesarean section (C-section) rates in California, were recognized today by the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) for reducing cesarean births for first-time moms with low-risk pregnancies. Fourteen hospitals at the not-for-profit health care network were named to the state’s 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll, nine of which have been recognized on this honor roll for four consecutive years. Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of CHHS, announced the honor roll recognition on behalf of Cal Hospital Compare, a performance reporting initiative informed by representatives from hospitals, purchasers, health plans, and consumer groups. The following Sutter hospitals were named to the 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Alta Bates Campus 
  • California Pacific Medical Center – Mission Bernal Campus 
  • Eden Medical Center 
  • Memorial Medical Center 
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center 
  • Sutter Davis Hospital 
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center 
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital 
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz 
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento 
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center 
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital 
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center

“Improving the quality of patient care in hospitals is critically important,” said CHHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “These annual measurements through Cal Hospital Compare allow us to acknowledge hospitals doing excellent work.”

When complications arise during pregnancy, C-sections can save the lives of mothers and infants, but some women undergo the surgery for no medical reason, exposing both mother and baby to potentially avoidable risks. To respond to the rise in unnecessary C-sections, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the Healthy People 2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low-risk, first-births to 23.9 percent. The Maternity Care Honor Roll acknowledges hospitals that have achieved—and in many cases gone beyond—that goal. The Sutter Health system NTSV C-section Rate for a rolling 12 months ending October 31, 2019 was 20.8 percent, well below the 23.9 national goal.

“Over the last decade, Sutter Health has developed and implemented many programs to improve the care and safety of mothers and babies through pregnancy, labor and delivery,” said Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D.. “We’ve worked hard to enhance quality and safety at our hospitals to ensure we have among the lowest C-section rates in California, rates which are experienced equitably by mothers of all races and ethnicities—so it’s especially gratifying to receive recognition for leadership in this area.”

Sutter hospitals consistently outperform state and national averages for many measures of quality, and Sutter Health is committed to accurately and transparently sharing quality data with patients. The Sutter Hospital Quality Dashboard allows patients to learn more about the care provided throughout Sutter’s integrated network. In addition, patients are encouraged to talk with their doctors and nurses about any questions or specific outcomes related to their care.

Food Rx: Sutter Health Invests $265,000 to Support Community Food Banks

Posted on Nov 19, 2019 in Carousel, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Working with partners to provide nutritious food is one more way Sutter helps keep communities healthy.

Read More

Dedication to Duty: Blackouts and a Wildfire Won’t Stop Sutter Nurses

Posted on Nov 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

A spine injury at age 19 left Santa Rosa resident Ken Kilgore with paralysis in both his arms and legs. Bedbound and dependent on a special electric mattress that circulates air to prevent bedsores, Kilgore was nervous about the planned power shutoffs, until his bigger fear came true: an evacuation order.

Kilgore was one of approximately 150 patients routinely seen in their homes by the staff of Sutter Care at Home in Sonoma County who had to evacuate in response to the Kincade Fire. Through the uncertainty, fear and displacement, Kilgore says there was one constant: his nurse Paige Medeiros and the whole Sutter Care at Home family. “I must have gotten three calls a day from Sutter,” remembers Kilgore who is now safely back at home.

While the wildfire raged and blackouts rolled, Medeiros worked every day to make sure patients who rely on Sutter Care at Home had an in-person visit, or when that wasn’t possible, repeated phone calls to check on symptoms, give medical advice and guide patients to in-person care options as needed.

“These are people with feeding tubes, IV pumps, wound vacuums or special air mattresses like Ken’s,” Medeiros explained. “These are very frail patients that have high medical needs and are all homebound.” Working down a list, Medeiros drove to each patient’s house or the location where they’d been evacuated to, and checked if they needed supplies or nursing services, seeing to the needs of her regular patients and several patients who were normally cared for by other nurses, who had themselves been evacuated.

“It was a real team effort,” recalls Medeiros. “All of my co-workers and the whole Sutter family pitched in.”

Medeiros praised a nurse who drove from Marin to Mendocino (approximately 131 miles one way) to give a patient an in-home infusion (a special treatment that not all nurses can provide) and another who problem-solved through a four-day power outage, charging patients’ phones from her car battery and driving medical devices to the community resource center to be charged before returning them to her homebound patients.

James Conforti, chief operating officer for Sutter Health, knows that staff work tirelessly to provide quality care to patients. “Sutter’s integrated network allows us to coordinate care and contact patients. From filling prescriptions, rescheduling appointments to keeping vital chemotherapy infusions on track, we make sure our patients have continuity of care. The resilience of our staff and community never ceases to amaze me.”

But perhaps Kilgore said it best: “It’s not just a job to them—they really care about us.”

Preparedness Tips for Power Shutoffs

Posted on Oct 31, 2019 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Many Northern California communities have been impacted by PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) throughout the last month.

When PSPS plans are announced, we work with PG&E to identify facilities located in potential outage areas and implement preparedness protocols to minimize potential impacts. Sutter is also able to leverage the strength of our integrated network to help keep patients connected to care.

As additional shutoffs are announced, or you prepare for colder winter weather, consider these personal preparedness tips to help safely manage power outages.

  • Make sure you and your family are prepared for an outage at home, helpful information can be found at: prepareforpowerdown.com
  • Have emergency supplies, food and water.
  • Consider a backup plan for your refrigerated and frozen foods. Buy ice at the grocery store and place needed items and prescriptions in coolers.
  • Have a plan for child and pet care, should school or work places be affected, or your normal schedule change.
  • Fill up your gas tank in advance of known power outages.
  • Allow for extra travel time as traffic signals may be out, and limit travel when possible.
  • Be cautious when using open flame light/heating sources and generators, as they can be dangerous.
  • If you receive home healthcare support, ensure your provider has contact information to reach you, as well as your emergency contacts.

Find out more about the shutoffs at pge.com or call PG&E at (866) 743-6589

New App Supports Growing Families at Every Age and Every Stage

Posted on Feb 27, 2020 in Innovation, Scroll Images

Personalized health guidance connects to vetted resources within the Sutter Health network via Wildflower Health’s digital platform

Mom, dad, and their toddler and infant daughters snuggle up together playfully on the couch. Big sis is kissing mom, dad is watching them, and little baby sis is staring at the ceiling.

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. AND SAN FRANCISCO–From the moment a woman realizes she’s pregnant, there’s so much to think about, from coping with morning sickness to remembering to take prenatal vitamins and preparing for delivery.

In hopes of making it easier for prospective moms to find all the information they may need, Sutter Health and Wildflower Health have teamed up to offer an app that supports women and their partners before, during and after pregnancy: My Family by Sutter Health™.

The app, which is intended for those 18 years or older, is powered by Wildflower’s digital platform. It is designed to help patients connect to trusted local resources available within Sutter Health, a not-for-profit health network serving more than 3 million patients in Northern California. It provides pregnancy guidance reviewed by Sutter network doctors as well as other helpful resources, including nutrition and exercise ideas, weekly pregnancy checklists and reminders, and a guide for discussing a woman’s labor and birth preferences with her provider. It provides tips for caring for newborns, too—from breastfeeding to safe sleeping. The entire family’s health can also be supported in the app. With the ability to create multiple profiles for parents and kids, users can manage their family’s health at every age and stage.

“What makes My Family by Sutter Health ™ app unique is that it offers advice that has been reviewed and vetted by Sutter physicians,” said Albert Chan, M.D., M.S., FAAFP, Sutter Health’s chief of digital patient experience. “The information comes from sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is backed by the local doctors taking care of local families. It gives our patients convenient, accessible and reliable information, when and where they want it.”

The free mobile app joins Sutter’s comprehensive suite of maternity, pediatric, family medicine and women’s health care services, connecting families to hospital birth centers, classes, breastfeeding support, neonatal care services, emergency services and more.

“From Baby Friendly Hospitals, to well-child visits and high-quality women’s healthcare, Sutter Health and Wildflower Health understand the needs of growing families in Northern California,” said Leah Sparks, founder and CEO of Wildflower Health. “Our collaboration will build trusted solutions for families, personalized to their health needs.”

The results from a one-year pilot study with Sutter Health and Circle, another Wildflower Health pregnancy app, indicated that patient satisfaction was a key indicator of success. Of participants from the pilot study, 100 percent rated the app “easy to very easy” to navigate with a Net Promoter Score of 28. Almost 80 percent said they were likely to recommend the app experience to others.

Additionally, a peer-reviewed journal article found that users of a Wildflower Health app engaged in prenatal care earlier and had fewer low-birth weight babies than non-app users.

With the goal of creating greater access to the right care at the right times, the My Family by Sutter Health app helps support healthier families. The My Family by Sutter Health™ app seeks to help with the early identification of health issues to ensure that every individual receives the most appropriate level of care, decision support to enable healthy choices for a variety of scenarios, and adherence and compliance with care plans, appointments, vaccinations and prevention.

The My Family by Sutter Health™ app is available in English and Spanish. It can be downloaded in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by following the links provided, or searching “My Family Sutter” in the app stores.

Rare Fellowship Honors Earned by Sutter Health Nurse Leaders

Posted on Feb 20, 2020 in Scroll Images

Anna Kiger

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) has announced that Sutter Health Chief Nurse Officer Dr. Anna Kiger, DNP, DSc, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, achieved fellowship status among their prestigious Class of 2020. Kiger joins seven other nurse leaders from across the nation in recognition for their contributions to the specialty of nursing leadership, commitment to service and influence in shaping healthcare.

As a system, each of Sutter’s three top nursing leaders have now been honored for their unique talents with fellowships by national nursing bodies.

Barbara Quinn

In November, Barbara Quinn, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, director, Professional Practice and Nursing Excellence, received fellowship honors from the Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute. Quinn was honored for nursing leader excellence, as a staunch advocate for patients and families and as a forerunner of innovation.

Both Kiger and Quinn will be honored at induction ceremonies in March, Kiger in Nashville, Tenn., and Quinn in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Surani Hayre-Kwan

In 2018, Dr. Surani Hayre-Kwan, DNP, MBA, FNP-BC, FACHE, FAANP, received fellowship recognition from the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Hayre-Kwan is also director, Professional Practice and Nursing Excellence. Her position focuses on ambulatory care, clinical scope and advanced practice while Quinn’s duties fall more in the acute care setting.

Sutter Health Statement on State of the State

Posted on Feb 19, 2020 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health, today issued the following statement on Governor Newsom’s State of the State:

“I was honored to view Governor Newsom’s State of the State address from the Assembly gallery today, and I applaud the Governor’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of the thousands of people experiencing homelessness across our state. We see firsthand the adverse impact homelessness has on California’s vulnerable populations each day throughout our integrated network of care. Driven by our mission to improve community health, we work with public and private partners to help reduce the root causes and effects of homelessness in the communities we serve. We look forward to working with the governor and local stakeholders to build on the work we’ve done to date.”

Yolo County Unveils Health Needs Focus for Next Three Years

Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Community Benefit, Scroll Images

Mental health and addiction care, disease prevention and management, and access to basic needs identified as priorities

Courtesy of Yolo County

WOODLAND, Calif.– Mental health and addiction care, disease prevention and management, and access to basic needs like housing, jobs and food were identified as priority areas to address the evolving health needs of Yolo County residents. These findings—amongst many others—were revealed today in the county’s latest Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) during a community event at the Yolo County Food Bank.

“The collaboration that went into developing this report is just the start of what we can achieve when we are partners in health,” said Don Saylor, District 2 Yolo County Supervisor. “We hope sharing these needs with the community will create a call to action for all community leaders to come together to develop strategies, interventions, and make commitments to prevent and address the significant health needs presented here today! We are excited to see this renewed commitment to ensuring a Healthy Yolo County!”

The CHNA summarizes the significant health needs facing the more than 200,000 county residents. It allows health leaders to identify and prioritize significant health needs in the region, helping to improve health outcomes for patients wherever they seek care throughout the county. Local care providers – including hospitals – use the CHNA to guide their community benefit investments to help meet the individual regional health needs.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have collaborated with the County and our health care partners to determine and address the needs of the most vulnerable in our community,” said Gena Bravo, Chief Nurse Executive and Chief Operating Officer at Dignity Health Woodland Memorial Hospital. “The Community Health Needs Assessment is important work, and we know it will have a direct impact on lives and the communities we serve.”

“The Community Health Needs Assessment gives remarkable insight into the targeted areas where our investments can make a difference to support the unique needs of our community,” said Rachael McKinney, CEO of Sutter Davis Hospital.

Other focus areas identified in the report include active living and healthy eating; access to quality primary care health services; access to transportation and accommodations for those with disabilities; access to specialty and extended care; safe and violence-free environments; pollution-free living environments and access to dental care and preventive services.

For the first time, the 2019-2021 CHNA was completed collaboratively by Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency Community Health Branch, CommuniCare Health Centers, Dignity Health, Sutter Health and Winters Healthcare. Research and writing of the CHNA was conducted by consultants, Community Health Insights.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and California State Senate Bill 697) requires that not-for-profit hospitals conduct a CHNA at least once every three years to satisfy the Public Health Accreditation Board reporting requirements for the county.

“The collaborative CHNA process gave visibility and voice to some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Evan Priestley, Director of Health Wellness and Promotion at CommuniCare Health Centers. “Inviting safety-net organizations to the table demonstrates commitment to capture the experiences of everyone in the community. CommuniCare Health Centers is grateful to participate in the CHNA process.”

“The Community Health Needs Assessment gives us insight into the health issues specific to our own community in Winters, while simultaneously providing information on the whole county,” said Chris Kelsh, Executive Director of Winters Healthcare. “Without this data, we are guessing on what issues are most prevalent. The CHNA supports us in working strategically with our health center, hospital, and social service counterparts to focus our efforts so we can use our resources to improve the lives of all people in the county.”

Photo: Representatives from Yolo County, along with those from CommuniCare Health Centers, Dignity Health, Sutter Health and Winters Healthcare joined forces today to unveil the Community Health Needs Assessment.

Sutter’s Self-Prescribed Eco-Rx Shows Impact

Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Organization snags 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award; Employees and leadership charged up to do more in 2020!

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sutter has dialed up its sustainability efforts in recent years. The not-for-profit organization’s environmental stewardship committees have made major strides towards minimizing waste, increasing energy efficiency and creating healthier communities for patients and their families.

In 2019 alone, Sutter completed five solar power projects, launched a pilot program to reduce the amount of harmful anesthetic gasses released into the atmosphere during surgeries, and increased plant-based meals by 20 percent in its hospital cafeterias.

For strides like these—and more, Sutter received a 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award. SEAL –Sustainability, Environmental Achievement and Leadership – honored the organization for stepping up as one of four founding members of the California Health Care Climate Alliance. The alliance brings significant healthcare experience and a combined voice to the legislative and regulatory process to advocate for and enact climate-smart policies. Additionally, Sutter was recognized for having developed a comprehensive sustainability campaign focusing on several key initiatives, including energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction, for which it showed results.

Sutter Health awarded 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award.
Sutter Health awarded a 2019 SEAL Business Sustainability Award.

“At Sutter Health, caring for our planet is integral to our mission of fostering healthier environments,” said Steve Lockhart, M.D., PhD, Sutter Health chief medical officer and executive sponsor of Sutter’s Environmental Stewardship Program.

Sutter Takes a Proactive Approach to Sustainability

As the organization looks to the decade and environmental challenges ahead, its commitment to sustainability has never been stronger. Here are three ways Sutter is continuing to address sustainability across its integrated network:

• The organization is a major supporter of MedShare, a non-profit that delivers surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need around the world. In the last 10 years, Sutter has contributed more than $11 million worth of lifesaving medical supplies to improve global health and has eliminated 1 million pounds of waste, such as patient beds, from reaching landfills.

• Sutter recently received a major grant from the State of California for a pilot program where ten of its hospitals—Memorial Hospital Los Banos; Memorial Medical Center; Sutter Tracy Community Hospital; Sutter Amador Hospital; Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital; Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento; Sutter Roseville Medical Center; Sutter Solano Medical Center and Sutter Surgical Hospital North Valley—are donating leftover food to local nonprofits to feed the hungry. As part of this grant, Sutter will be able to track where the food goes across Northern California and show its impact.

• Sutter’s Building Renewal Program is also making significant investments in existing buildings with the goal of creating greater efficiency and reducing emissions. Solar panels have been installed at seven campuses across the network, which represents a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 7 million pounds per year. This is equivalent to the GHG emissions for 674 passenger vehicles driven for one year or the CO2 emissions from 3.5 million pounds of coal burned for one year. In 2020, the team is evaluating many more campuses to see if installing solar is viable. Sutter is also continuing its electric vehicle charging station program.

Pledging to Do More

Sutter Health recognizes healthcare’s role in climate change. As such, it is prepared to do what it can to support Northern California’s dynamic ecosystem for the better. This commitment extends to Sutter’s nearly 60,000 employees.

“Each of us can play a role—even by making one small change to our daily routines,” said Dr. Lockhart.

Employees across Sutter’s integrated network have been invited to take a sustainability pledge to commit to making a positive impact on the environment, at work and at home in 2020.

Big Steps Toward Early Cancer Detection

Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Affiliates, Expanding Access, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Cancer researchers worldwide seek new clues to aid early detection and better treatments for cancer. The future is now, however, as research to support the development of a blood test for the detection of multiple types of the disease is underway at Sutter.

cancer blood test

Last month, Sutter began inviting eligible patients into the PATHFINDER clinical study. Sponsored by GRAIL Inc., the PATHFINDER study will evaluate the diagnostic capabilities of an investigational, multi-cancer early detection blood test. Sutter also helped support the development of GRAIL’s early cancer detection test by participating in the ongoing STRIVE study, which closed to enrollment at Sutter in 2018.

The goal of the PATHFINDER study is to enroll patients across eight sites at Sutter, currently the only health system in California participating in the multicenter PATHFINDER study. Other sites across the U.S. include Intermountain Healthcare, with additional centers launching this year.

While blood tests to detect or monitor cancer progression are not new, existing cancer tests typically screen for one type of cancer (e.g., breast cancer) and must be used with other screening tools . The PATHFINDER study is assessing whether GRAIL’s blood test will help aid early detection for multiple types of cancer with a single blood draw before symptoms present. The study will evaluate the implementation of the investigational test into clinical practice, and marks the first time results will be returned to health care providers and communicated to study participants to help guide diagnosis.

If the investigational test detects a cancer signal, it is designed to identify where in the body the cancer arises from, to inform the appropriate diagnostic next steps confirming if cancer is present.

Charles McDonnell, M.D., FACR

“Insights from the PATHFINDER study may improve how we screen for cancers and expand the types of cancer for which we can screen. Sutter’s participation in this study could help pioneer breakthroughs in early detection that may help save lives around the world,” says Charles McDonnell, M.D., FACR, a Sutter radiologist in Sacramento and lead principal investigator for the study at Sutter.

Dr. McDonnell and Andrew Hudnut, M.D., a family medicine doctor in Elk Grove, saw the potential and importance of the STRIVE study. They were instrumental in securing Sutter as a site for PATHFINDER.

“We anticipate this trial may allow us to personalize cancer screening and may eventually enable earlier, safer care for those patients found to have cancer,” says Dr. Hudnut.

During the PATHFINDER study, blood samples will be collected from eligible Sutter patients who consent to participate in the study. Blood samples will be analyzed for small pieces of the tumor’s DNA (i.e., its genetic “code”). If a study participant is diagnosed with cancer, the participant will be counselled on the results of their blood test and followed during workup to diagnose their cancer. There will be 12 months of follow-up for all participants.

PATHFINDER AT-A-GLANCE:

  • Study participants who are diagnosed with cancer will have their study test results communicated to them by qualified, Sutter clinical research staff and PATHFINDER study physicians. Participants will also receive e-mails and newsletters with information about follow-up appointments and study milestones.
  • The PATHFINDER study is part of Sutter’s coordinated efforts to improve cancer research and treatment outcomes for patients. Sutter also participates in large, phase 1-3 national clinical studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and collaborates with pharmaceutical companies on cancer research.

Early cancer detection may be part of the “holy grail” for cure. Find out how you can help! Learn more about PATHFINDER by contacting the study team at pathfinderstudy@sutterhealth.org or call 916-746-2161.

Find more clinical trials and research at Sutter.

Sutter Launches Ferrum’s AI Quality Platform to Prevent Medical Errors, Fight Cancer, and Reduce Healthcare Costs

Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Innovation, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Sutter is the first health system in the U.S. to run quality review on applicable CT lung scans; Ferrum’s AI quality platform aims to reduce medical errors across the patient journey

SAN FRANCISCO—Sutter Health, a not-for profit healthcare network in Northern California, today announced the launch of Ferrum’s artificial intelligence (AI) powered quality platform to deliver higher quality and more consistent care to its patients. Ferrum Health’s next generation technology is designed to improve quality in medical imaging, with the goal of helping Sutter find important diagnoses like lung cancers in their early stages. Ferrum’s technology is helping Sutter support patients through improved outcomes, an enhanced care experience, and a reduced total cost of care over time.

Ferrum’s quality platform analyzes medical images alongside physicians’ written notes. It uses computer vision and natural language algorithms to identify abnormalities and flags them for Sutter clinicians to follow-up with patients and change care plans as necessary.

In August 2019, Sutter Medical Foundation went live with Ferrum’s AI-powered quality system in Sacramento, Calif. to improve lung cancer care, becoming the first in the country to run the technology on applicable CT scans and radiologist reports. The system analyzed documented findings that match, or don’t match, the algorithm’s review of the image.

“For those rare instances where a nodule is overlooked, we can in a very quick time period—usually within 24 hours—continue the care process instead of waiting until larger nodules are detected at a later medical visit,” said Charles McDonnell III, M.D., a Sutter Medical Group radiologist and associate medical director of risk management. “Having a system for quality coverage of our diagnostic decisions makes us stronger, more effective advocates for our patients, and gives patients greater comfort and peace of mind.”

If there is a potential discrepancy (i.e., a nodule or other abnormality found in the scan but not mentioned in the report), the scan is “flagged” and sent to chest radiology subject matter experts and the department quality committee for further review. Any discrepancies that the subject matter expert finds to be actual nodules which were not found in the initial reading of the scan go back to the initial radiologist. That radiologist can then update his or her report and quickly provide the patient with recommendations for appropriate high-quality care, such as a follow-up at Sutter’s Lung Nodule Clinic.

According to Jason Wiesner, M.D., a radiologist and medical director of the health system’s Diagnostic Imaging Service Line, estimated discrepancy rates at Sutter were already four times lower than the estimated rate of error nationally. With the implementation of Ferrum’s AI technology within the pilot, this number was reduced even further. In the first 90 days of deployment at Sutter, Ferrum’s AI technology reviewed more than 10,000 CT scans containing lung tissue. Eighty-three of its flagged findings warranted additional radiologist review and intervention. A subset of these patients was confirmed to have findings that needed follow-up care.

“This is a testament to the quality of work done by our radiologists on behalf of our patients,” Dr. Wiesner said. “We are giving our doctors and patients a safety net and ensuring we continue to provide the highest quality of care. This project shows the commitment of Sutter Health to providing the highest reliability healthcare to the communities we serve.”

“We’ve shown the profound impact that quality monitoring technologies can have on identifying opportunities to improve care and prevent potential medical errors,” said Pelu Tran, co-founder and CEO of Ferrum Health. “Most importantly, thanks to the advanced work of both IT teams, it took us just a single day to deploy a platform that improved the quality of diagnostic care for Sutter patients across all of Sacramento – all without impacting their physicians’ workflows. The work we’ve done here is the beginning of a new era in healthcare’s battle against medical errors, and we’re excited to continue to move the field forward alongside quality luminaries like Sutter.”