Novato Community Hospital’s Total Hip, Knee Replacement Program Earns Joint Commission’s Highest Certification
Jan 22, 2018
Emma Dugas

Novato Community Hospital has been on a crusade to optimize orthopedic care in Marin County.

Over the past 2 years Novato Community Hospital (NCH) has invested significant resources and energy into building a best-in-class program for total hip and total knee replacement surgery. Today NCH announced that its program earned the Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement – the highest certification offered by the nationally recognized accrediting body.

“We know we have a world class Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Program,” said Sherie Hickman, NCH chief administrator. “This advanced certification showcases our team’s commitment to excellent patient care and confirms the lengths we go to ensure the best in quality and service for patients every day.”

Those lengths go well beyond the hospital’s walls. In 2015 NCH spearheaded a community-wide effort to ensure that everyone involved in these surgeries follows a rigorous set of standards. “Our patients come from far and wide, so we’ve worked really hard to ensure that regardless of where they come from, or go home to, they get consistent, high-quality care” Jennifer Lehr, director of orthopedic services at NCH said.

Not easy but well worth the effort. NCH convened anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and others to reach consensus on how best to manage post-surgery pain, get patients mobile after surgery and support patients at home. The group’s efforts paid off in 2017 when 91% of joint replacement patients were discharged from NCH directly to their home (as opposed to a skilled nursing facility), representing a 29% improvement over 2013. “Patients often recover faster in their own home as opposed to a facility, so we are really proud of this achievement” said Lehr.

Commitment to continuous improvement. “We want every knee and hip replacement to be a success” said orthopedic surgeon and program Medical Director Dr. Peter Callander. “We are always learning and applying what we learn in order to make that happen.” The joint replacement improvement teams now meet monthly to review recommendations from their medical peers and front line staff, examine results from recent surgeries, and use this feedback to update protocols.

In addition to improving the quality of care that patients receive, the group has also taken on the mantle of making care more efficient. “We’ve developed systems to share information at all points of care, so patients don’t have to answer the same questions multiple times” said Lehr. This level of coordination is available even after the surgery and the patient is home thanks to NCH’s dedicated outpatient nurse case manager who helps patients through the entire rehabilitation process.

Additional standards that the Joint Commission looked for include:

  • Number of patients receiving optimized pre-operative education
  • Number of patients discharged to home
  • Patient early mobility and functionality in less than 6 hours after surgery

“The Joint Commission is one of the premier health care quality improvement bodies in the nation” said Hickman. “This certification is really a recognition of the work done by our entire provider community when we focused on improving pain management, quality of life, function, mobility, experience and safety for orthopedic surgery patients – and achieved amazing results. We are committed to sustaining these gains and will do so with the continued leadership of our area orthopedic surgeons.”

Joint replacement surgery takes the whole team – learn more about how Novato Community Hospital partners with you and your surgeon in your care

About Novato Community Hospital

Novato Community Hospital (NCH) is a community based hospital providing 24 Hour Emergency, General Surgery, Critical Care and Laboratory Services to Northern Marin County residents. NCH specializes in Orthopedic Surgery and total Joint Replacement Surgery — hands, hips, shoulders, and knees. The hospital houses three surgery suites, with one specifically designed for minimally invasive procedures. In 2017 NCH was recognized as a High Performing Hospital in Knee Replacement by the U.S. News & World Report.

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