Parkview Med focuses tech on hysterectomies

Filed under: Health Care |

Parkview Medical Center has acquired a new machine that offers women the option of safer, less traumatic surgery than a traditional hysterectomy.

The Gynecare X-Tract Tissue Morcellator provides laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomies, which reduces recovery time and is less painful than traditional methods.

“This procedure can be done through four small incisions, and very few stitches,” said Dr. James Meeuwsen. Because of this, he said the recovery is easier and shorter and women can expect to leave the hospital within 24 hours and return to an active lifestyle within a week.

Each year, 600,000 women in the United States undergo hysterectomies to treat a range of conditions, including cancer of the uterus and cervix. Hysterectomies are the second most common surgery for women – more than one in four women will have the procedure by age 60.

The device was developed with working, active women in mind to reduce pain, minimize scarring and shorten recovery time. It is only 15 millimeters in diameter.

During the procedure, a laparoscope (a thin lighted telescope) and small surgical instruments are inserted through tiny slits in the navel and abdomen, to gain access for the operation, eliminating the need to make a large cut to pass through muscle wall and tissue. Tiny incisions are made to separate the uterus from the cervix, and remove only the uterus through one of the openings. Because LSH does not require the surgeon to make a large abdominal incision, a woman will not have the same kind of scar typical with most traditional, “open” surgeries.

“Many women are candidates for this procedure,” Meeuwsen said. “The procedure is ideal for the woman who needs a hysterectomy which can’t be done vaginally; such as a woman with large fibroids or who hasn’t had vaginal childbirth. It is not appropriate if cancer is suspected; the cervix must come out; or for uterine prolapse.”

Government urges workers to prepare for pandemic

The Department of Homeland Security has released the national strategy for pandemic influenza. One part is to enforce quarantines or other containment measures on the public during an outbreak to prevent widespread infection.

“Businesses can prepare for this outbreak by setting up phone and Web conferencing services to enable employees to work at home,” said Lee Simonson of 24conference.com. “But since telecommunication networks will be strained to their limits, now is the best time to reserve space and services.”

A government checklist for business continuity during the pandemic is available at the Web site. 24conference.com provides phone and Web conferencing services to businesses.

The government is estimating that up to 35 percent of the work force could be affected at any given time, with 200 million people infected. Businesses are encouraged to begin making contingency plans.

What this means to businesses is that there are significant risks presented by mass quarantines and travel restrictions that are not factored into today’s business continuity plans, such as large numbers of employees being unable to come to work. Companies without plans for helping employees remain productive from home face the possibility of a near shutdown during a pandemic.

Workplace tools – such as Web conferencing – that make use of more reliable and collaborative IP communications, are being cited as key resources for helping companies survive a pandemic because they enable employees, customers and business partners to work together, just as they would in a physical meeting.

However, for this technology to deliver the level of collaboration required to endure a month-long pandemic, it must be made available to every employee in the company in the same way that e-mail and telephone service are available.

Colorado chosen for health information exchange

Colorado is one of nine states that will participate in a study to determine “best practices” in developing statewide electronic networks that allow patients’ medical records to be exchanged among doctors and other health care providers.

The project will look at governance, structure, financing, operations and information exchange policies in Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs), entities that are implementing and overseeing development of networks that give doctors – and patients – access to patients’ health care records where and when they’re needed.

During the past 18 months, the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) facilitated discussions of a coalition of providers, businesses, community, agencies and individuals who are working to create a RHIO in Colorado. This “CORHIO” will bring together communities that already are exchanging health information locally and will be part of a nationwide network of similar organizations linked through common standards and purposes.

“Development of the CORHIO will allow patients’ health information to be portable and move with them from one point of care to another,” said Lynn Dierker, CHI director for community initiatives and facilitator for the Colorado RHIO effort. “For instance, a person who lives in Denver but needs medical care in Durango will have his or her medical records available to a doctor or hospital there, which can help avoid treatment errors.”

The other states selected include: California, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Utah.

The project is expected to be completed by Aug. 31.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.