By Jaclyn Seebsitt, Corporate Communications
Since early 2016, Largo Medical Center has been performing outpatient joint replacements through its Ambulatory Surgery Center, saving both time and money for our members—and the region—while also providing seamless and convenient pre- and post-operative care and service. It’s a win-win for everyone, and the center’s latest example of providing the right care, at the right place, at the right time was in November when a very satisfied patient had her Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgery.
Dr. Maurice Cates, Regional Medical Director for Musculoskeletal Service Line, recounted the patient’s journey, which began back in November 2015. Her Primary Care Physician had referred her to him for pain in both knees, and her treatment began with conservative pain management, leaving surgery as a last resort.
This patient’s path to her TKR is a prime example of how efficiently our integrated system works. “Throughout this journey, what is interesting is that if you look at how we manage patients, I saw her physically in the office two times on November 25, 2015 and August 3, 2016, and all other visits were virtual, by phone or secure message,” Dr. Cates said. “We give patients like that a choice, because once you’ve seen a patient and know what they have, you don’t have to have them physically come into office, unless you need to do something procedural.”
Fast forward to October 2016, when the patient’s pain had become unmanageable and the decision was made to move forward with surgery. Before her surgery, eight of the patient’s visits were virtual, with only three in-person visits required. This saved her significant time because she lives in Jefferson, MD, in Frederick County, which is not close to Largo. However, she understood the need to travel to Largo for the surgery. “When people understand where they can get the best care, they will travel for it,” Dr. Cates explained. “We are promoting Largo as our outpatient joint center, for both hip and knee, and every eligible patient’s surgery is done at the Largo ASC.”
Before surgery, the care team implements a 13-point plan for patients to ensure they are optimized for procedure, which includes attending a joint class with educational video, anemia management, diabetes management, etc., and the best part is that all of these things can be done virtually.
Once a patient is optimized, the procedure can be scheduled. “The great thing about doing surgery at the ASC is that we can usually get them scheduled within a week or two because we have control of the schedule and use our own staff and ASC,” Dr. Cates said. “We can usually give patients a date that fits their schedule.”
Dr. Cates also reiterated that home recovery is better than hospital recovery, a message that resonated throughout the patient’s entire journey. From her first arrival at Largo, she was greeted by enthusiastic people and pre-op nurses where everyone knew what they were doing. “And that’s by design, because we have protocol that everyone knows and everyone follows,” Dr. Cates added. She had her procedure done, walked right away, and had no problems going home.
The patient’s positive experience continued beyond the day of her surgery, too. “In our ASC, our patients get a phone call from surgeons, as they do in concierge medicine, on the day after to see how they’re doing,” Dr. Cates said. “We don’t tell the patient that the surgeon will call them, so it’s a ‘wow’ event for the patient.”
KPMAS was the first region to do joint replacement in the ASC setting, and Largo is continuing to set the bar high for this specialty. The center’s first TKR was completed in February 2016. Read more about it here.