A component of health care reform is ensuring people have information regarding health care providers. Services, quality and care are tracked, scored to comparable data locally, regionally and nationally.
The importance of access to such information has pushed hospitals to spend millions to re-engineer technology.
This infrastructure enhances the exchange of information and fosters new computerized equipment directly affecting patient care. Northwest Indiana hospitals are prepared.
Gene Diamond, regional CEO of the Franciscan Alliance, points to how the introduction of the Da Vinci robot surgical system has enhanced care. With the addition of this technology, region residents can receive state-of-the-art technology in bariatric surgery, as well as in treating urological, gynecological and abdominal conditions. The patients have fewer complications, leaving the hospital sooner, and getting back to their lives.
In addition to Franciscan Alliance, The Community Hospital in Munster and Porter hospital give area residents this surgical choice.
Open MRIs in Munster and St. John are vital patient additions. MRI technology enables highly defined images to be taken of the body's interior organs and tissues. This is particularly useful for imaging the brain, spine and soft tissues of joints and the interior structure of bones.
"The open MRI offers an unprecedented combination of clinical excellence and patient satisfaction," stated Donald Fesko, CEO of The Community Hospital. "For patients who find it difficult to lie still in a narrow space, open MRIs are a great alternative."
Methodist Hospitals CEO Ian McFadden emphasizes technology. EPIC, the electronic record system, has enhanced tracking patients' information.
And digital tomosynthesis improves radiologists' accuracy of interpreting results.
"Digital tomosynthesis makes it possible to detect some tumors at an even smaller size than before," said Dr. Ken Sengel.
The patient's experience is improved by the overall accuracy of the results, enhanced by technology.
St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St Mary Medical Center in Hobart have SmarTrack, the new communication system. CEOs JoAnn Birdzell and Janice Ryba, respectively, credit this interactive patient tracking technology with keeping families informed while patients are in surgery.
The SmarTrack System is displayed in waiting rooms, updating throughout surgeries.
"Our top priority is patient care," said Lori McBride director of surgical services at St. Catherine. "With this system, the whole team can work with the same data simultaneously for the ultimate benefit of our patients and their families."
"With a new hospital, everything is state-of-the-art" said Jonathan Nalli, CEO of Porter Health System. "The emphasis in building this health care facility is the patient experience. The ability for patients and families to receive their health care through a one-stop delivery system set the model for the new hospital."
Larger surgical rooms, emergency rooms, patient rooms and access are just part of the features being introduced to the region.
Breast, lung, heart and stroke issues are strong service areas throughout Northwest Indiana hospitals. Knowing what is available, there is no reason not to begin using the health care options here in Northwest Indiana.
Denise Dillard is chairman of the Northwest Indiana Healthcare Council. The opinions expressed in this column are the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.