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Miss out on Swedish's live knee surgery? Watch the recap today.

If you missed out on Swedish's live knee surgery in March, we have a recap for you - but five minutes of video instead of the five hours originally streamed!

On Tuesday, March 15, 2011, surgeons from the Swedish Orthopedic Institute offered the opportunity to see a knee surgery in a way that has rarely been done before by a healthcare system. Sean Toomey, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, repaired the knee of a patient, streamed live online. The webcast was moderated by orthopedic surgeon James Crutcher, MD. The patient, identified by Dr. Toomey as a candidate for a partial knee replacement procedure, volunteered and consented to have his knee replacement surgery streamed live.

The live webcast provided a rare front row seat into advances in surgical technology, featuring new robotic-assisted technology for knee replacements. During the surgery, the video portion of the webcast was embedded below, and was accompanied by a live chat. Viewers sent questions during the procedure using the live chat features (no login or account needed) or via Twitter using hash tag #livekneesurgery and were answered by the narrating physician during the webcast. Anyone interested in learning about orthopedic options at Swedish or surgical technology were encouraged to join the web stream.

Perspectives on Healthcare - Winter 2011

Health care is one of the most pressing and talked about issues of our time. Not a day goes by when the topic isn’t in the news. The cost and quality of health care, access to it, the overall health of the American population, etc., are all subjects of endless debate and political rancor.

My team and I started this series, Perspectives, to help make sense of the rhetoric and share our point of view on what it all means for our local community. We’ve explored the topic from different angles, from why electronic health records matter to the importance of end-of-life planning. Each letter has generated thoughtful questions and comments from many of you. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed the dialogue, and I encourage you to keep sharing your thoughts and opinions as the series continues.

Elevating the dialogue

Another way we’ve tried to elevate the conversation is by bringing leading thinkers in health care to the Seattle area. Through a partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL), we’ve had the privilege of hosting some brilliant writers on the subject, including author and New Yorker contributor Atul Gawande, M.D., and Washington Post and NPR correspondent T.R. Reid. Both are gifted communicators who challenged us to think in new and different ways about health care. Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for these lectures. We hope you got as much out of it as we did.

We are bringing two more authors to the community this year in conjunction with SAL. Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., will present at Town Hall on Jan. 12. His new book “The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” was named as one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times. Then on March 2, we have the great honor of hosting Tracy Kidder, author of several books including Mountains Beyond Mountains, the story of Paul Farmer’s work in Haiti and other forgotten parts of the globe.

The lecture series is one way we chose to commemorate Swedish’s 100th anniversary. Rather than throwing parties to celebrate our centennial, we felt we could have more of an impact by creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue around the very complex and nuanced topic of health care.

Our 100th anniversary symposium: how to fix health care through innovation

The capstone of our centennial year was a national symposium on how to fix health care through innovation. The two-day event was held in October and drew 41 distinguished speakers from around the globe, including chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, as well as thought leaders from Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Dartmouth to name a few. More than 500 people from the community attended the event, including business and community leaders, health-care providers, health advocates and educators. 

We concluded the symposium with 12 specific action items that individual communities could implement to improve health care at the local level. A few of those action items are summarized below and were part of an opinion piece I wrote for the Seattle Times this fall. I thought I’d share those findings with you in this letter as well.

Here are some of the main ideas that emerged from the symposium:

Swedish Expands Radiosurgery Services

There was cause for celebration in the Swedish Radiosurgery Center on Thursday, Dec. 16, as neurosurgeon Ronald Young, M.D. (left), medical director of the Gamma Knife® program, and radiation oncologist Bob Meier, M.D. (below), medical director of the CyberKnife program, treated the center’s first two Gamma Knifepatients. The center, formerly known as the Seattle CyberKnife Center, supports both the Swedish Cancer Institute and the Swedish Neuroscience Institute.

The center has offered CyberKnife services since 2006. This year Swedish installed an Elekta Leksell Perfexion Gamma Knife®, making it one of the most advanced stereotactic radiosurgery centers in the country. CyberKnife can be used to treat cancerous and noncancerous tumors in all areas of the body.

At Swedish, Gamma Knife will be used to treat cancer of the brain and some neurological conditions, such as essential tremor, trigeminal neuralgia and arteriovenous malformations. Providing Swedish neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists access to both of these advanced technologies gives them greater flexibility in selecting the best radiation therapy for their patients. For more information, go to www.swedish.org/radiosurgery or call 206-320-7130.

Perspectives on Healthcare - Spring 2010

Welcome to the latest installment of Perspectives. Since we started this series 18 months ago, we’ve examined a number of issues that impact the future of health care. But one topic we have not yet addressed is the severe shortage of physicians in this country.

About 60 million Americans are affected by the shortage in that they live in one of 3,000 U.S. communities designated as medically underserved, meaning there are not enough doctors to meet the needs of the local population. Our state has a higher rate of physicians than most, but even still, there are 147 communities right here in Washington that carry the medically underserved designation.

The physician shortage dates back, largely, to the mid-1990s when experts predicted the country was headed for a surplus of physicians. As a result, medical schools froze enrollment and began graduating fewer and fewer doctors.

The shortage has been exacerbated by aging baby boomers, who require more medical attention as they grow older. And now that health-care reform has passed and 30 million more Americans will have access to health insurance, the demand for doctors will continue to outpace the supply – by a large margin.

Addressing the shortage

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