2010 Innovation and Technology | Via Christi Health

Growth >> Innovation/
Quality Community Benefit Foundation

Medicare Advantage  |  Robotics  |  Cyberknife  |  CiBOR  |  OnCall  |  InMyHome  |  Hypothermia Therapy   |  Cancer  |  Highlights

New Medicare Advantage product to help keep seniors healthy

Via Christi Health and Coventry Health Care, Inc., have collaborated to develop Advantra® Total Care HMO from Coventry - a Medicare Advantage product designed to improve the health and wellness of Medicare patients while reducing avoidable emergency room visits and hospital stays.

Via Christi Medical Associates will serve as a "medical home" for members who will undergo an initial screening to identify health needs, such as chronic diseases, that require treatment or long-term management. The aim is to proactively identify health needs and provide patients with more coordinated access to treatment and prevention health services.

Via Christi adds second robotic surgical system

To keep up with physician and patient demand, Via Christi Hospital on East Harry in Wichita has added a second da VinciTM Robotic Surgery System. Robotic surgery requires only a few small incisions and allows patients to recover much more quickly and with less pain than with traditional surgeries.

In late 2007 Via Christi introduced robotic surgery, which is used in such procedures as prostatectomies and hysterectomies. Via Christi has trained nearly 30 physicians who have performed more than 1,250 surgeries.

In 2010, 70 percent of all hysterectomies and 93 percent of prostatectomies have been performed using robotic surgery at Via Christi. Robotic surgery is also being used in kidney procedures.

"Having a second da Vinci system allows us to train additional physicians and expand the types of procedures being done using the robotic surgical system," says Brian Swallow, director of Surgical Services for the hospital.

Via Christi CyberKnife® Center treats its 1,000th patient

In September, the Via Christi CyberKnife® Center treated its 1,000th patient with CyberKnife Radiotherapy. The CyberKnife provides the most advanced cancer treatment targeting tumors from precise angles to achieve the optimal dose of radiation without harming surrounding tissue and requiring fewer treatments for patients.

CiBOR scientists make critical discovery

In work that could revolutionize the orthopaedic industry, scientists at the National Center of Innovation for Biomaterials and Orthopaedic Research have successfully regrown a one-centimeter section of bone in a rat femur using scaffolding made from composite material from an aviation industry application. Paul Wooley, PhD, CiBOR's chief scientist, says the success gives hope, for example, to soldiers injured on the battlefield who face amputation of injured limbs.

"We would like to believe that we would be able to salvage some of the worst case scenarios by regrowing lost sections of bone," Wooley says.

Via Christi Health, Wichita State University and other community partners hope to develop a composite medical device industry - including an improved version of artificial joints - that will create 2,600 new jobs and have a $200 million annual economic impact over the next 10 years in Kansas.

Via Christi Health hosts meeting of innovation leaders

CiBOR, Via Christi Health ePharmacy, Via Christi OnCall and Advantra® Total Care HMO - a collaboration between Via Christi Health and Coventry Health Care - were featured at the semi-annual meeting of the Innovation Learning Network held in Wichita in October. ILN is a consortium of some of the most innovative health care organizations in the country that meet to discuss methods and applications of innovation, idea transfer and inter-organizational collaboration.

Via Christi Health is a member of ILN, which includes such innovation leaders as Kaiser Permanente and Mayo Clinic. The meeting was only the second event held at Wichita's brand-new National Center for Aviation Training.

Via Christi OnCall tests virtual doctor's visits

To test the receptivity of primary physicians and patients to online care, Via Christi Health in collaboration with Ascension Health has launched Via Christi OnCall - a new technology that allows virtual visits with primary care physicians from the convenience of their home or office. Patients may contact their Via Christi Medical Associates provider from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. using a webcam, e-mail or telephone.

"We are interested in learning how online care can impact access for patients and how it may impact care delivery in a primary care practice. Understanding how this type of access might improve the health and well-being of individuals across Kansas by collapsing time and geography is important as we look to the future of health care delivery," explains Janell Moerer, vice president, Business Development, Via Christi Health. "In the future, I think people will demand online care and even an app for it on their smart phone."

Independence through innovation

This past year, Ruth Coultis became the first client of Via Christi InMyHome, a membership program that makes use of innovative medical and other devices to keep individuals healthy and independent in their homes.

Through Smart Home Technology, sensors detect whether a person falls, if a bathtub overflows, medications have been taken or if a person has gotten out of bed by an appointed time.

Shortly after joining InMyHome, Ruth needed a hip replacement. Her personal care coordinator, Tina Lott, was able to ensure that Ruth received all the right tools to successfully recover, including in-home rehabilitation services.

"There is a time in your life when someone like Tina can make your life so much better," says Ruth. "I have the assurance that someone is always available to us and is there to help."

Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis is first in region to use hypothermia therapy

Innovative treatment helps woman recover after cardiac arrest

When Brenda Stangle's husband Terry walked into her room in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, she said to him, "It's amazing!"

"What?" he asked.

"Somebody was frozen," she said.

"It was you!" he informed her.

Brenda had awakened after having her body temperature lowered from its normal 98.6 degrees to 91 degrees to minimize the damage her brain might have otherwise suffered following a cardiac arrest and heart attack. Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis is the first in the Wichita region to use hypothermia therapy to treat cardiac patients.

On Oct. 14, 2010 Stangle was at home in El Dorado with her husband, Terry, and daughter, Jessica Harris. After complaining of not feeling well, she first lay down, then arose only to collapse into a chair.

Terry and Jessica, both trained in CPR, began chest compressions and rescue breathing. EMTs arrived and defibrillated Stangle seven times in the process of restoring her heart to a normal rhythm. After an intial stop at a hospital in El Dorado, Stangle was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis where a medical team began hypothermia therapy.

"The cells are trying to restore themselves and get rid of those that have been injured. Sometimes they over react," explains Darrell Youngman, DO, Stangle's cardiologist. "Hypothermia therapy slows that process."

According to Youngman, a good candidate for hypothermia therapy stands a 50 percent chance of survival versus a 25 percent chance without the therapy.

"I love them for saving me," Stangle said of her husband and daughter. The mother of three grown children and grandmother of three then turned to Youngman, standing at her hospital bedside, and grasped his hand with a heartfelt, "Thank you."

New Cancer Institute to transform care delivery

A new medical and surgical Cancer Institute at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis in Wichita will transform the way cancer care and services are provided. Built on the seventh floor of the hospital, the Via Christi Cancer Institute includes 40 private patient rooms, multiple family areas including a family education center, private sleeping quarters for families and a dedicated staff education and care planning space to promote collaboration among physicians and other caregivers.

2010 Highlights

:: Richard "Rich" Sullivan was named president and CEO for the National Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research (CiBOR), a partnership between Via Christi Health and Wichita State University.

:: A major information technology initiative implemented in 2010 - Soarian® Financials - will make it easier for Via Christi Health to establish electronic health records for patients across its ministries. Soarian connects to clinical areas such as nursing, medication administration, laboratory, patient orders and pharmacy.


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