SEATTLE, March 21, 2012 – In the closing weeks of 2011, Swedish opened the largest, most advanced endoscopy center in the Pacific Northwest on the First Hill campus in Seattle. The 21,600-square-foot, state-of-the-art unit serves as the procedural space for a broad range of minimally invasive cases performed by gastroenterologists, colo-rectal specialists, thoracic and bariatric surgeons and pulmonologists on patients with a broad range of digestive and respiratory diseases.
“This uniquely designed space offers physicians and surgeons from diverse specialties and practices the opportunity to bring their patients the highest level of care in a collaborative, safe and comfortable environment that is easily accessed, spacious and welcoming,” said Swedish Chief Medical Officer John Vassall, M.D.
The new unit was completed just over a year after Swedish Medical Group formed Swedish Gastroenterology – a new, employed gastroenterology, hepatology and endoscopy service that brought together several local gastroenterologists in one Swedish-based group dedicated to providing patients with the highest level specialty and subspecialty care available. Founded by Drs. Drew Schembre and Jack Brandabur, Swedish Gastroenterology was created to bring leading-edge technologies and evidence-based best practices to the largest non-profit medical provider in the Greater Seattle area. Collaborating closely with other Swedish endoscopists and surgeons – as well as nursing and OR staff as well as First Hill campus leaders – they helped design the innovative endoscopy space on 2 Southwest as a major step in modernizing digestive health care at Swedish.
The new center offers twice the capacity of the previous endoscopy unit and Swedish enables all physicians who perform endoscopy at the medical center to offer patients both basic and advanced procedures in the state-of-the-art, comfortable, efficient and patient-centered environment.
“We made the best possible use of a unique space for this new center,” said Dr. Schembre. “Swedish was able to convert an older intensive-care unit into a highly functional endoscopy center. It is easy to get to the second floor of the medical center and it’s spacious and comfortable for patients as well as staff. Each of the six general endoscopy and two advanced procedure suites features the latest high-definition imaging systems, while abundant natural light fills the admission and discharge areas.”
Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used to assess the digestive or respiratory system by inserting a video-equipped, flexible tube into the body. The instrument can provide high-resolution images for real-time inspection as well as facilitate biopsy, tissue removal and a host of therapeutic applications.
Most people are familiar with colonoscopy, where the entire colon is inspected and pre-cancerous polyps can be removed. However, numerous other endoscopic procedures can be performed, such as freezing abnormal tissue in the esophagus, removing stones from the bile and pancreatic ducts, or assessing anal sphincter muscles with ultrasound from within the rectum.
“Endoscopy has many important advantages over traditional surgery,” explained Dr. Brandabur. “It can often be done with few complications, increased patient satisfaction, and at a lower cost.”
The new center is shared by almost 40 different physicians from gastrointestinal groups at Swedish, Minor & James Medical, The PolyClinic, as well as pulmonologists, general, thoracic and colorectal surgeons.
This shared space allows for close collaboration among the breadth of these specialties. In addition, the expanded capacity and advanced procedure spaces allow Swedish to act as a hub for hospitals around the region to refer patients with complex medical conditions.
“We can serve as the tertiary destination for patients first treated at all the hospitals affiliated with Swedish and even for those that are not,” said Dr. Schembre. “Many routine procedures can be done close to a patient’s home, and we can handle the more complex cases requiring special expertise and tools.”
Swedish-affiliated physicians do basic upper- and lower-tract endoscopies and screenings for colon cancer in the new endoscopy center. In addition, they perform a host of other diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. These include using endoscopic ultrasound for staging lung, esophageal, pancreatic and other GI cancers; ERCP with cholangioscopy to look directly inside bile and pancreatic ducts; and deep enterscopy, during which an endoscope can be passed almost anywhere in the small bowel.
The new center has advanced endoscopic ultrasound equipment, plus a new Philips fluoroscopy imaging system not currently in use for clinical practice anywhere else on the West Coast. It can produce high-resolution, 3-D images of new views of complicated and hard-to-identify anatomy, such as bile pancreatic ducts with detail and accuracy that far exceeds that of even the newest CT and MRI scanners. Moreover, endoscopists can direct therapies in real time at problems within these systems, such as stone removal, stricture dilation and stenting, as well as draining of infections.
“With the new endoscopy center now open, we are able to perform a variety of advanced procedures more easily, more safely and more efficiently than we have been able to in the past,” said Dr. Schembre.
Improved Patient Flow
Swedish physicians and surgeons, nurses and staff from Swedish’s Facilities Management department met frequently with architects from NBBJ throughout the endoscopy unit design phases to collectively create an efficient, patient-friendly endoscopy center.
Patients arrive at the center via the main hospital elevators. The waiting area is comfortable but was designed to be relatively small as flow through the unit should be quick for most patients. The private pre-admission area leads directly to procedure rooms where the exams take place. Once completed, patients are taken a short distance to individual, private recovery areas where family can be present as they wake up. Patients and family meet care providers in these rooms before discharge, where they review results of the procedure, ask questions and receive follow-up instructions.
Patients who need simple outpatient procedures follow a different flow than those requiring more complex, hospital-based treatment. This makes for a better experience for everyone involved: patients, physicians, nurses and support staff.
“We were incredibly happy about how all of this came together,” said Dr. Schembre. “It wouldn’t have happened without the full support of Swedish administration as well as the resourcefulness of Swedish care providers and support staff.”
About Swedish Gastroenterology
Swedish Gastroenterology is one of several groups that provide digestive health care at Swedish. It provides consultative and diagnostic gastroenterology services, as well as treatments and procedures for a broad range of routine and complex digestive health problems. Swedish Gastroenterology – along with Minor & James Gastroenterology and PolyClinic Gastroenterology – collaborate closely with hepatologists, oncologists, radiologists, as well as colorectal, thoracic, transplant and general surgeons to ensure that each patient at Swedish receives the best treatment plan, and that plan components are carefully coordinated.
About Dr. Schembre
Drew Schembre, M.D., serves as chief of Swedish Gastroenterology and has interests in complex disease management, health-care delivery systems, new technologies and clinical research. His clinical interests include early diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers, gastro-esophageal reflux and Barrett’s esophagus, inflammatory bowel disease and a variety of other disorders. Along with general endoscopy, he has focused on the use of advanced endoscopic techniques, such as endoscopic ultrasound, deep enteroscopy, as well as endoscopic mucosal resection and ablative technologies to provide non-invasive or minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for conditions that previously required surgery.
About Dr. Brandabur
Jack Brandabur, M.D., heads the new center as chief of Endoscopy at Swedish. He brings a wealth of experience in advance therapeutic endoscopy as well as technology assessment and inventory management. His clinical interests include advance pancreatic and biliary endoscopy (ERCP), pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, colon-cancer screening, and a variety of other disorders.
For More Information
For more information about Swedish Gastroenterology or the new Endoscopy Center, call 206-215-4250 and visit www.swedish.org/gastroenterology.
Swedish to Host Livestream on Colonoscopy, Colon Health the Morning of March 28
On Wednesday, March 28, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (PST), Swedish-affiliated doctors Drs. Raman Menon (a colorectal surgeon) and Nicholas Procaccini (a gastroenterologist) are hosting a livestream to discuss the benefits of colonoscopy, and why it's important that everyone at age 50 get screened. Patients at risk and those with family members who have had colon cancer may need earlier screening. March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month – and Swedish is committed to identifying new ways of communicating to better inform and provide a new level of education to the community. During the livestream, these doctors will feature a video stream of two recorded colonoscopy procedures (one male and one female patient) recently performed at Swedish, accompanied by a live chat by Drs. Menon and Procaccini. For more information about the livestream and to follow it on March 28, click here.
Swedish has grown over the last 102 years to become the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area with 11,000 employees, more than 2,800 physicians and 1,700 volunteers. It is comprised of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and Swedish Medical Group – a network of more than 100 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. In addition to general medical and surgical care including robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org, www.swedishcares.org, www.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcenter, or www.twitter.com/swedish.
Swedish is affiliated with Providence Health & Services, which is a Catholic, not-for-profit organization founded by the Sisters of Providence in 1856 with 27 hospitals, 214 physician clinics and almost 53,000 employees across five states. Based in Renton, Wash., Providence Health & Services provides strategic and management services to integrated health-care systems in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington state. For more information, visit www.providence.org.