Porter Regional Hospital is one of only 66 participating hospitals nationwide to have achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care, as recognized by the American College of Surgeons. The hospital is the only one in the region with the distinction.

The recognition means that patients who have surgery at Porter Regional Hospital are receiving care from a team armed with data about surgical outcomes, with an ultimate goal of improving patient safety by reducing infection, illness or death related to surgery.

“This is a significant accomplishment that has taken years to plan,” stated Dr. Jac Cooper, a general surgeon at Porter Regional Hospital. "The team at Porter has done a phenomenal job of starting up our surgical care quality program. We are still in the early stages of the program so it is good to be deemed meritorious so soon."

Cooper and general surgeon Dr. Adam Conn were instrumental in starting Porter’s participation in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

Porter’s participation in ACS NSQIP began in 2015, but the first full year of data collected on surgical patients was in 2016. Nurse Sarah Leroux is the surgical clinical reviewer for the program and the person behind the scenes tracking surgical outcomes at the hospital.

“It is exciting to have a full year’s worth of data now, because our program is based on trends," Leroux stated. "We are looking at outcomes for several specific areas, and we are interested not only in how we can improve patient care at our hospital but how we are performing compared to other facilities like us, and others who are better."

Porter has implemented an internal pilot program designed to provide a comprehensive educational experience for certain patients who are going through a planned surgery. The so-called Enhanced Recovery after Surgery is for select patients having colorectal or hernia surgeries. Leroux tracks post-surgical outcomes and overall patient compliance after surgery in hopes of identifying trends so the patient care team can intervene and change processes or protocols to improve outcomes.

Before surgery, these patients receive an ERAS educational guidebook that provides comprehensive checklists that patients must complete before and after surgery. “We want our patients to be in the best condition possible before their surgery. Just like you train for a marathon, you need to get ready for surgery, too,” Leroux said.

Patients meet with a nurse two weeks before surgery and then work with nursing staff to complete their checklists after their surgery. “We have had patients thank us for the follow-up phone calls, which is very rewarding. We are here to help them; that is most important,” she said.

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