Operating outside the box

Innovative procedures and modern services have Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center breaking down the walls of traditional healthcare

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013 8:20 a.m. CDT

Marcia Simpson had always been an artist. Then, at 73 years old, she noticed her fuzzy vision was been making it difficult for her to paint. After cataracts slowly clouded her view of the world, Marcia elected to undergo the laser cataract and astigmatism correction surgery at Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center.

“I am so happy now,” Marcia says. “I can do close-up work so much easier. I can see all the details in my paintings and I don’t have to take my glasses on and off. I can’t believe the difference in the colors. I look at my artwork and think, ‘Wow, the colors are beautiful.’”

Offering a technological advantage
Marcia opted for surgery with the Catalys Precision Laser System, an innovative procedure that offers greater precision, a quicker recovery time, and increased safety for the patient. There is no needle, no surgical blade, and no forceps. Instead, the Catalys process uses laser technology, resulting in little or no discomfort for the patient.

It offers surgeons the precision to create incisions with greater accuracy, and at exact depths, lengths and locations to virtually eliminate astigmatism – getting patients back to their favorite activities far quicker than traditional methods.

Also in use at the Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center is stent treatment option for glaucoma, a degenerative disease of the optic nerve, and the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

The iStent Trabecular Micro Bypass Stent, is an FDA-approved treatment, used in conjunction with cataract surgery, to safely and effectively reduce the eye pressure in glaucoma patients. It is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA, and is placed in the patient’s eye during a cataract surgery. It is not seen nor felt after the procedure is completed, and with iStent, patients will need far less of their costly eye drops to control eye pressure, and some may no longer need medicated drops at all.

Providing affordable and accessible care
Saving on medication is just the beginning. The team at Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center believes people deserve access to accurate prices for all their healthcare services, and encourages its clients to learn what their procedures cost and compare those prices to other options and providers.

“Health care should be no different from any other industry. Consumers have the right to know exactly how much they are paying for each and every service,” said Tina Mentz, the center’s executive director. "We have been disclosing this information to our patients on our website for a long time, and we actively encourage patients to look for the best value as they undergo specific procedures."

That value is an added benefit to the care at Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center, where the most common outpatient procedures – from cataract surgeries to tonsillectomies and hernia repairs – typically cost 55 percent less than the average charge at local hospitals. That price comes without sacrifice to safety or quality, and the center's procedures boasts an infection rate of less than one percent, lower than many hospitals.

Placing service at the forefront of healthcare
Performing more than 8,000 surgical procedures every year, the staff of medical professionals at Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center shows commitment to the safety and satisfaction of the patients through a host of customer service innovations. Whether it’s implementing effective communication strategies for the surgical team, or phoning patients in advance of a procedure to gather accurate medical histories, the members of the Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center team are getting their patients involved in their own care, and creating a reputation for keen customer service in the process.

At the center, a pre-admission system called One Medical Passport allows patients to complete medical histories online, at their own convenience, increasing patient safety and compliance. The center also has set up a mobile messaging service, providing information and reminders, confirming arrival dates and times, and advising patients of any instructions or restrictions prior to their procedures.

The center has improved the process of admission for repeat patients, those who have had a procedure in the past 30 days. These patients don't have to complete a new online patient history, re-verify their insurance, or review privacy regulations. They simply sign a release of benefits and head back to get ready for their procedures.

Leading the way with better outcomes, satisfied patients
The combination of cutting-edge technology in the operating rooms, a modern and tech-savvy customer service model, and reduced costs and efficiencies have patients at Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center moving through their procedures with greater ease, recovering more quickly and expressing their satisfaction with the outpatient experience.

"Certainly individual patients need to choose the most appropriate setting and provider for their care," Mentz says. "But many surgeries do not require a hospital setting, and are actually better suited for an ambulatory surgical center environment like ours at Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center."

Elmhurst Outpatient Surgery Center is conveniently located inside the Center for Health on the campus of Elmhurst Hospital. For more information, visit the center online at www.eosc.org.

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