'Treat every patient like they're your mother': The unique philosophy at a Massachusetts ASC

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For the family-run Shields Health Care Group, treating patients like family is embedded in every step of their total joint program. 

Prashanth Bala, vice president of ASC Operations at Boston-based Shields Health Care Group, joined "Becker's Ambulatory Surgery Centers Podcast" to discuss the migration of total joint procedures to the outpatient setting. 

This is an excerpt. Download the full episode here

Question: How did you build your total joint replacement program? What makes it unique?

Prashanth Bala: Our model is a little bit different than most of this area. We pride ourselves on our ability to partner with hospitals and with physicians and physician groups — to be able to extend that high-quality care that everybody in this community used to from hospitals but bringing that out into the community. Shields is a family-run company. We have a saying from our founder that goes something along the lines of "treat every patient like they're your mother." I think what makes us unique is that we have that sort of philosophy embedded into everything we do. 

We start with just the mere fact that our total joint program within our ASC has a complex care coordinator — nurse who oversees the program and works with our surgeon offices and with the patients directly to ensure they receive the highest quality of care. It starts with coordinating with the office and ensuring that the visiting nurse program is set up with a patient postoperatively. That complex care coordinator also does the preoperative education class and then also tracks and follows that patient for about 90 days postoperatively, ensuring that that patient has received all the attention and care that they require. We try to focus on ensuring that the patient knows everything that they need to know to help be a part of that recovery since they are going to be recovering at home. 

We built it with surgeon champions — we have excellent surgeons in our community that have wanted to start an outpatient program. They started at the hospitals that they worked at but recognized quickly that an outpatient program in ASCs is better for them and better for the patients. We worked with all the ASC leadership at our facilities to ensure that everybody was on the same page, and that helps because that allows us to create sort of a standardized best practice across our network.

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