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'clinical quality' posts

Are you at risk for heart disease?

About half of all Americans have at least one of the three main risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Other risk factors include diabetes, overweight/obesity, poor diet, inactivity, alcohol use and family history.

More people die from heart disease than any other medical condition. Controlling these risk factors is the most effective method of prevention.

What is your risk for heart disease? Find out by taking a free online Heart Risk Test.

If you need care, we have a team of cardiologists who can evaluate your risk, show you how to reduce that risk, and help you take the first steps to a healthy future.

Five tips for finding a cardiologist:

  1. Convenience. Care close to home or work makes life easier. Swedish has more than 35 cardiologists in 20 locations throughout the Greater Puget Sound area.

  2. Credentials. Cardiologists at Swedish are board certified by their national professional organizations.

  3. Quality. The American College of Cardiology has recognized Swedish cardiologists for being leaders in safe, high-quality care that reduces the risk of death among heart patients. Find out more about our quality outcomes.

  4. Reputation ...

Quality & outcomes in cardiac surgery

Do all cardiac surgery programs have the same quality outcomes? This is an important question all consumers must ask themselves if they or their loved ones must undergo an operation on their heart. Heart surgery has become increasingly common in recent years. Earlier awareness on the part of physicians and patients, advanced diagnostic testing and an increasing aging population with the inherent prevalence of heart disease has led to this surge in cases. Additionally, cardiac surgical teams are now operating on patients with multiple medical problems and doing more complex operations. Even with these factors, outcomes for patients continue to be optimal at centers of excellence.

But for today’s consumer, how does one choose where to have heart surgery? There are numerous choices both locally and nationally for all metropolitan areas. The consumer must ask: how do I know I am going to get the best of care? Should I go to a center with a “national” reputation? Is it just the doctor that makes the difference or does it involve the entire team caring for me: cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, physician assistants, ICU nursing and intensivists (doctors specialized in the care of the ICU patient), OR staff, etc.? All of these questions must be asked before considering such an important operation at any hospital by any surgical team.

One of the best yardsticks for outcomes to help patients choosing where to have their surgery is ...

Improving the emergency department experience - and being recognized four years in a row

When you think of emergency rooms or emergency departments, “patient satisfaction” probably isn’t the first phrase that comes to mind. As an Emergency Medicine nurse, and having travel-nursed throughout the United States for the past 20 years, I’ve come to the realization that the traditional way of doing things is broken. In fact, about eight years ago, I was so disillusioned with my career that I decided to leave nursing.

But then, an amazing new opportunity came my way.

The nurse recruiter for the local agency I had been working with knew I was planning to leave the field, but informed me of an opportunity being developed at Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah. In short, Swedish was building a new freestanding Emergency Department (ED) that would offer something to patients that — at the time — was unheard of: an experience solely dedicated to patient satisfaction and respecting the patients’ time. This new way of thinking and new opportunity with Swedish re-energized my desire to stay in the field, and I accepted the challenge this job offered.

Fast-forward eight years and we’ve succeeded in our goal to make our Emergency Department experience second to none, and one that others try to emulate.

It’s not your typical ED.

Patients in the area know that when they come to the Swedish/Issaquah Emergency Department (and other Swedish Emergency Departments like Mill Creek and Redmond), they will experience a “no-wait” philosophy. You won’t sit around in a waiting room; rather, you’ll be taken directly to an exam room with your care started immediately. And, now we’re being nationally recognized for our achievements.

The Issaquah ED was ...

Using robotic technology to improve outcomes in myasthenia gravis and thymoma

New technologies have the potential to improve patient outcomes but need to be carefully studied so that patients will maximally benefit.  Robotic thymectomy for myasthenia gravis and thymomas was introduced at Swedish in May of 2009 after careful evaluation of our outcomes with traditional sternotomy and VATS thymectomy.

One of the more challenging aspects of being a surgeon is to understand how new technologies can benefit your patients and how those technologies might become part of your practice. If you’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, read Time magazine or the Wall Street Journal or surfed the web recently, you’ll be aware of the da Vinci surgical robot. The robot has allowed many different surgical specialties to operate in confined areas of the body with tiny instruments placed through equally small incisions thereby avoiding a larger incision. In thoracic surgery, one of the confined spaces is an area in front of the heart where a gland called the thymus resides.

Most people don’t even realize they have a thymus nor do they know it’s responsible for the development of immunity. However, for a small number of patients the thymus can be source of disease either by generating a tumor called a thymoma or by producing antibodies that block transmission of nerve impulses making the patient fatigue or weaken very quickly which is called myasthenia gravis (MG). Removing the thymus gland (thymectomy) is an important part of the treatment in both diseases.

Traditionally, thymectomy is accomplished ...

Kicking off our new blog; plus some thoughts on patient safety

Welcome to Swedish’s new blog. Thank you for taking a moment to check it out. We’re excited to have a forum where our physicians and clinical staff can interact with the community and share their expertise and perspectives on health issues.

On this blog, you’ll get a chance to meet different members of the team at Swedish, from our health educators and nurses to our primary-care physicians and specialists. They’ll share tips on how to keep you and your family safe and healthy, and they’ll tell you about promising new breakthroughs in medicine, including innovative treatment options and diagnostic tools being used here at Swedish.

We also plan to use this blog to report on Swedish’s work in the community. As a nonprofit, we’re passionate about strengthening the health-care safety net and improving the health of our region. We’re looking forward to using this blog as a way to highlight our community health initiatives and tell you about some of the nonprofit agencies we’re partnering with to reach underserved populations.

But we don’t want this blog to be just a one way conversation. We encourage questions, comments and ideas for blog topics. The more interactive, the better. With your input, we hope to make this blog a valuable resource that will inspire and motivate people to take charge of their health and do their part to create a healthier community.

With this being the first installment of our blog, I thought it appropriate to include a few thoughts on patient safety in this initial post.

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