South Florida Hospital News
Saturday July 11, 2020

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June 2009 - Volume 5 - Issue 12


Fusing Patient Experience and Medical Excellence at the New Spine Center at Memorial Regional Hospital South

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year. In addition, back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. Once a person has an injury, the challenge becomes streamlining the care and taking the steps to address the injury whether it is through rehabilitation or surgery, depending on what the doctor orders.

Striking a balance between the patient experience and the clinical intervention to alleviate spine injuries and back pain is a formula that the Orthopedic Institute of South Florida at Memorial Regional Hospital South has been perfecting at its new Spine Center, which opened in February 2009. At the core of the program is the emphasis on the patient experience and taking advantage of every opportunity from pre-op to discharge to educate the patient about his or her spine procedure.

"We understand that the prospect of having spine surgery can be very daunting and puzzling for a patient," said Douglas A. Zaren, administrator, Memorial Regional Hospital South, located at 3600 Washington Street in Hollywood. "We decided to create a Spine Center that incorporates a multidisciplinary approach where every member of the team contributes to the patientís treatment plan, and so far the patients are embracing this approach."

It all starts when a Spine Center patient enters Memorial Regional Hospital South. He or she is personally guided through the care by a patient ambassador, who coordinates with other team members in areas of admissions, nursing, medical staff, rehabilitation, clinical resource management and volunteer services. On the clinical side, Memorial Regional Hospital Southís comprehensive spine services include surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, conventional and alternative therapies, and physical therapy and rehabilitation services all in one location. Patients have opportunities to ask many questions and view custom presentations to help them better understand their surgery.

"Itís a paradigm shift in the way we are delivering care. The clinical experience must mix with the patientís experience, and the patient begins to understand that the customer service component and education are part of providing the highest levels of quality of care," Zaren adds.

Luis Quinones was one of the first patients at Memorial Regional Hospital Southís Spine Center, and he believes the patient experience he had throughout his surgical journey was unique.

"This was my first surgical experience, so I didnít know what to expect," said Quinones. "I appreciated the educational presentation the staff gave and was impressed that they offered me a tour of the surgical unit."

Adding to the patient experience is the overall image of the program. Many patients gain a level of comfort when they learn about the capabilities of a program and get acquainted with its physicians and staff. Another layer of comfort is allowing relatives to participate in the healing process. Just as other Memorial Healthcare System facilities, the Spine Center at Memorial Regional Hospital South practices patient- and family-centered care, a philosophy that includes open visiting hours.

"We involve the patientsí families in all aspects of care and recovery," Zaren pointed out. "We are committed to keeping patients and their families updated on the process of care."

The Spine Center is part of the leading-edge Orthopedic Institute of South Florida at Memorial Regional Hospital South, which offers a wide variety of advanced care techniques, including minimally invasive surgical and nonsurgical treatments for patients with joint, hip, knee, shoulder or other orthopedic issues.

When customer service and enhancing the patient experience share center stage with medical advances in care, the ultimate winners are the patients.

"To me, customer service in a hospital is about making the patient feel important," said Edward Newlun, a recent patient at the Spine Center. "Everyone who came in contact with me introduced themselves, they were smiling, and there were caring. I felt I was the most important patient they had that day."

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