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Archive for December, 2016

Three Reasons Why a Strong Brand Is More Important In Healthcare than Any Other Industry

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

By Mike Killeen, VP of Marketing for Lenz, Atlanta’s Healthcare Marketing Experts

Healthcare decisions are the most personal and significant we makeLenz marketing

Every business benefits from a strong brand, but in healthcare it is an imperative. Why? Because healthcare decisions are the most personal and significant we make. These kinds of decisions require enormous amounts of trust, and a brand’s primary job is to facilitate trust.

You’ll buy a hot dog from someone you hardly know, but spine surgery? I don’t think so. You have to trust your surgeon, whether you personally know her or not.

There’s a formula that helps us understand how consumer relationships work. It’s Brand Promise + Brand Experience = Relationship. Among other things, this means that what consumers think of you before they know you is just as important as their experience with your service or product. Your brand is half the battle. Treat it well.

All doctors are experts

There’s good news and bad news for you as an expert American physician. The good news is that 300 million of your fellow countrymen recognize your expertise. The bad news is that they recognize your competitions’ expertise, too. In other words, your abilities as a physician are assumed and do not differentiate you in the mind of the American public—but your brand does.

This concept is called “price of entry.” Safety for airlines or clean kitchens for restaurants are other examples. That’s why airlines sell customer service and restaurants the dining room atmosphere.

What emotional intangibles do your customers value?

You must sell them before they are buying

Nobody likes seeing the doctor, and few consider their healthcare choices until they need them. So, we as healthcare marketers are constantly selling to an audience who is not buying. Yet.

Why do we do this? Because consumers will need our services someday, and at that point the decision is already made. They will go with the best-branded healthcare provider who they have known all along but never thought they would need.

 

If you want to work with Lenz, please let us know. We’ve got a great team that is eager to help quality healthcare businesses reach their goals.

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Opioid Epidemic: Crafting and Effective Health Response

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University along with the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research at the NYU Meyers College of Nursing, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Arkansas, recently hosted the Opioid Epidemic: Crafting and Effective Public Health Response, at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta.

The conference drew a diverse group of investigators from Emory and other institutions, community-based organizations, public health officials, and other government officials to help develop a public health response plan to the opioid epidemic in the southern region.

The Southern US is experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of opioid misuse that is causing dramatic increases in rates of overdoses, hepatitis C, and neonatal abstinence syndrome, and threatening to rekindle HIV transmission among people who use drugs. While the opioid epidemic and related harms are national crises, the South bears a heavier burden of opioid prescriptions than other region; ongoing HIV epidemics among several key populations; and a historically poor public health response to substance misuse (e.g., fewer drug treatment programs, syringe exchange programs, and chronically under-funded departments of health).

Led by Hannah Cooper, ScD, associate professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, and colleagues at NYU, Vanderbilt, and the University of Arkansas, the conference was designed to:

  • create a new regional public health initiative to support ongoing collaborations among investigators at Emory and other institutions, community-based organizations, public health leaders, and other government officials about the opioid epidemic and related harms in the South.
  • develop a research and intervention agenda to address substance misuse, overdose, HCV, neonatal abstinence syndrome, HIV, mass incarceration for drug-related offenses, and the over-prescription of opioids for pain relief in the region.
  • set the foundations for proposals and papers about related research and interventions in the region.

“We aim to build relationships among key players in public health that will support effective, grounded collaborative research and interventions in the region,” explains Cooper. “As we shed light on the determinants of the opioid epidemic and related harms in the South, we aim to push this agenda forward for effective interventions to save lives in the region.”

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Georgia’s First Robotic-Assisted Full Replacement Surgery a Success

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Total-joint specialists at Northside Hospital Forsyth are combining the strengths to help patients, especially those with post-sports related injuries and osteoarthritis, return to a better quality of life much faster. They recently performed Georgia’s first robotic-assisted total knee replacement surgery.

“This is a great example of how technological advances, coupled with a surgeon’s expertise, afforded the completion of a total knee replacement surgery using a robotic arm,” said Dr. Kenneth Kress, the orthopaedic surgeon who performed the first robotic total knee replacement at Northside Hospital Forsyth on Oct. 17.

Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery from Stryker allows surgeons to perform more accurate joint replacements for patients with chronic knee pain as a result of osteoarthritis. The technology has been used to perform unicompartmental knee replacements for years and is now being used to perform total-hip replacements and total-knee replacements.

Through 3D models, motion capture and real-time virtual views of the patient’s anatomy, surgeons are able to provide more accurate implant size and placement. Patients may benefit from better stability and more natural movement of the joint, potentially increasing the lifespan of the implant and reducing the risk for revision surgery.

According to Dr. Kress, the use of this robotic technology offers reduced post-procedural pain and less recovery time, increasing patients’ mobility faster than ever before and allowing them to go home within a few hours after surgery.

“The Mako platform is supported by significant primary clinical research, including peer review, clinical studies and more,” said Dr. Kress. “Two-years of work has now become a reality and I am extremely proud to have performed this surgery.”

The surgical team’s experience, combined with more advanced operating room and anesthesia methods, allow them to perform total-joint replacements more efficiently and accurately with smaller incisions, less muscle damage, less blood loss and less post-operative pain. Five years ago the average joint patient in the U.S. was hospitalized 3-4 days after surgery. Today, 65 percent of patients who undergo joint replacement at Northside Hospital Forsyth go home within four hours.

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America’s Health Ranking Annual Report Show Georgia as 41st

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

According to America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report Georgia ranks 41st in the nation for health. The report ranks each state across 34 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes.

Hawaii ranks as the healthiest state for the fifth straight year. The state has held the top spot eight times in the 27-year history of the Annual Report. Massachusetts (second), Connecticut (third), Minnesota (fourth), and Vermont (fifth) round out the top five states for overall health.

States in the Southeast tend to be the least healthy. Mississippi ranks as the state with the greatest opportunity for improvement, dropping from 49th to 50th this year. Louisiana improved to 49th, while Arkansas (48th), Alabama (47th), and Oklahoma (46th) round out the states with greatest opportunities for improvement.

Some of the report’s highlights regarding Georgia include:

Strengths

  • Low rate of drug deaths
  • Low incidence of pertussis
  • High immunization coverage among children

Challenges

  • High percentage of children in poverty
  • High percentage of population without insurance
  • High prevalence of low birthweight

Highlights

  • In the past year, physical inactivity increased 16% from 23.6% to 27.3% of adults.
  • In the past 15 years, children in poverty increased 75% from 16.4% to 28.7% of children.
  • In the past year, meningococcal immunization among adolescents aged 13 to 17 years increased 16% from 74.9% to 87.0%
  • In the past year, HPV immunization among males aged 13 to 17 years increased 31% from 21.0% to 27.5%.
  • In the past year, infant mortality increased 9% from 6.6 to 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.

America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report analyzes a comprehensive set of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes data to provide a holistic view of the health of the nation. It also offers a benchmark to compare each state’s progress and declines over the past 27 years against national performance, offering insights into the success of public health efforts.

For more information on the report, visit America’s Health Rankings®

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Regenerative Medicine

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Arshed Quyyumi

Does regenerative medicine hold the keys to rebuilding damaged organs, tissue and muscle? Atlanta Medicine recently spoke with some Atlanta area researchers about the promise regenerative medicine holds for the future of medicine.

According to Arshed A. Quyyumi, M.D., a professor of medicine in Emory University School of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology, stem cell therapy may offer hope to people with cardiovascular disease in two ways: by treating people with heart disease and by providing evidence to researchers that may help them learn more about the body’s regenerative capacity. He says that progenitor cells, the early descendants of stem cells that have the ability to form different types of tissues and organs, may yield the most valuable information in the study of stem cell therapy as treat-ment for heart disease.

“The number of progenitor cells in a person’s body are reflective of their ability to heal and regenerate. They reflect the health of the reparative system in our bodies,” he says. “We have learned that people with low numbers of progenitor cells are less likely to heal, regenerate and repair. For people with heart disease, this means that they are more likely to succumb to their condition if their level of progenitor cells is low.”

Quyyumi adds that comparable studies conducted around the world have provided similar results.

“It’s not a small observation,” he says. “These studies of progenitor cells have all produced the same result in terms of predictive capacity.”

As for the treatment aspect, Quyyumi says that stem cell therapy offers promise for people with irreparable heart damage. Various stem cells, which are injected into the patient, are harvested either from the patient’s own bone marrow or from a do-nor.

“People who are participating in this research are those who have advanced disease, blockages or heart failure, for whom the usual treatment options have either been exhausted, haven’t worked or can’t be performed,” he says.

So far, results have been encouraging.

“Some clinical trials show that stem cell therapy has improved heart function in pa-tients and that they are living longer,” says Quyyumi. “Ultimately, we hope that stem cell therapy, in some form, will be available as a choice of treatment down the line for people with advanced heart disease and that we can salvage these kinds of conditions.”

Public Bank of Renewable Stem Cells Offers Promise

Todd McAllister

Recent clinical evidence shows that stem cell therapy is on the cusp of working very effectively across a broad range of applications, says Todd McAllister, Ph.D., executive director of the Amnion Foundation. McAllister and his colleagues, including Nicolas A. Chronos, M.D., managing partner of Cardiology Care Clinics, are collaboratively researching the value of amnion stem cells, found in the placenta and the am-niotic fluid surrounding a fetus, in the development of regenerative medicine treat-ments and technologies.

“The reality is that current stem cell therapies aren’t performing up to the high ex-pectations we had. Stem cells have been so hyped that now there is an expectation that we can inject stem cells after a heart attack, for example, and have the patient run a marathon the next day. We aren’t there yet,” McAllister says. “Most clinical studies use one of two basic approaches for stem cell therapy – harvesting cells from the patient’s own fat or bone marrow [autologous] or using cells from a master do-nor [allogenic].”

Both models have potential limitations, he adds. “The autologous model often uses cells taken from older, sicker patients, which may lack the regenerative capacity to cure the patient. The allogeneic model has the advantage of providing younger, healthier cells off the shelf, but immune or inflammatory responses to these cells may limit their long-term survival in the recipient.”

Dr. McAllister says that the Amnion Foundation is seeking to bridge the gap between the two models by building a bank of thousands of donors of powerful young stem cells, from which there will be perfect immunological matches for every person who needs them.

“Our objective is to extend upon the successes that have been documented with cord blood banking for blood cancers, in which the cells injected have a greater survival rate without a graft vs. host response,” McAllister explains. “While this seems an ob-vious extension, this public banking model is novel for treatments beyond diseases of the blood.”

Chronos says that the way stem cells work is not totally clear.

“We aren’t sure if stem cells work because they engraft into damaged tissues and then can turn into functional cells, or if they simply produce growth factors or other repair signals at the site of damage,” he says. “What we do know is that, as we age, there may be a reduced number of stem cells in our bodies, and they may not work as well once disease has formed.”

Forming a bank of amnion stems cells, available to the public, makes a tremendous amount of sense, says Chronos.

“One of the beauties of harvesting amnion stem cells is that they don’t pose an ethical dilemma to harvest. They are literally being thrown away after a baby is born,” he says. “These amnion cells are also incredibly multipotent, meaning that they can develop into almost any cell type. While we tend to think that all stem cells have this power, most have relatively narrow pathways that they can differentiate down.

“Amnion cells may be so young in their lineage that they can actually be driven, in the right environment, to rebuild any organ you want to treat,” he says.

“This characteristic, coupled with immunological matching in the public banking model, may finally help realize the full potential of stem cell therapies.” For more information about Amnion Foundation, visit www.amnionfoundation.org.

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HPV Vaccination: Cancer Protection in a Syringe

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

By Sandra Adams Fryhofer M.D., MACP, FRCP

On Feb 1, 2016, President Obama announced “Moonshot,” a new billion-dollar national initiative “to eliminate cancer as we know it.” In his announcement, the President predicted 1.6 million new cancer cases and 600,000 deaths in the United States in 2016. He discussed recent advances in cancer treatment, including using immunotherapy to activate the immune system against cancer. (1)

The details of this initiative also revealed cutting-edge research opportunities in cancer vaccine development. The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine was specifically mentioned as an ex-ample of future success in preventing cervical and other cancers. (1) These are laudable goals, but current trends in HPV vaccine coverage suggest many are missing this cancer-preventing opportunity. (2)

The HPV Virus and Cancer

HPV, the human papilloma virus, is linked to cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer in females, penile cancer in males, and both anal and oropharyngeal cancer in both genders. (3,4)

There are more than 100 different types of HPV virus strains identified. At least 40 of these types can infect the genital area. There are low-risk and high-risk types. The low-risk types include types 6 and 11 that cause genital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. (3) The high-risk types are linked to cancer: cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer in females, penile cancer in males, and both anal and oropharyngeal cancer in both genders. High-risk HPV strains include types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58, which are included in some or all of the available vaccines. (3)

Differences in Coverage

There are three HPV vaccines currently available: a bivalent vaccine, 2vHPV vaccine (covers 16, 18) brand name Cevarix made by GSK and FDA approved in 2009 (5); a quadrivalent vaccine, 4vHPV vaccine (covers 6, 11, 16, 18), brand name Gardasil (6) by Merck and FDA approved in 2006; and a nonavalent vaccine, 9vHPV vaccine (covers 6, 11, 16, 18 plus 31, 33, 45, 52, 58), brand name Gardasil 9 (7), also made by Merck and FDA approved in December 2014.

All three HPV vaccines, the 2valent (v), the 4v, and the new 9 valent vaccine, provide cancer protection against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause about 64 percent of HPV-related cancers overall (an estimated 21,300 cases of cancer each year). The cancer-causing potential of these two strains (16, 18) is similar for males and females. (8) Types 16 and 18 cause 63 percent of all HPV-related cancers in males and 65 percent of all HPV-related cancers in females (8) as well as 66 percent of all cervical cancers.(8)

The 4v and 9v vaccines also protect against types 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of all cases of anogenital warts. (8) The newer 9v vaccine covers five additional strains, which are linked to 10 percent of HPV-related cancers overall (about 3,400 cancer cases each year) but with important gender differences. (8) The five additional strains are linked to 14 percent of HPV-related cancers in females, including 15 percent of cervical cancers, but only 4 percent of HPV-related cancers in males. (8) Thus, the 9v vaccine provides triple additional protection for females.

HPV Vaccination Recommendations

ACIP recommends adolescents begin the HPV vaccine series routinely starting at age 11 or 12. Catch up vaccination should continue through age 26 for all females, through age 21 for all males, and through age 26 for immunocompromised males, including those with HIV and for men who have sex with men. Any of the three vaccines can be used to start, continue or complete the series for females, but only the 4v and 9v vaccines are options for males. (8)

At the February 2016 ACIP meeting, Merck, maker of both the 4v and 9v HPV vaccines, an-nounced production and distribution of the HPV 4v vaccine will halt at the end of 2016.

Many physicians (and parents) may wonder about additional vaccination with HPV 9. If a child has already completed a bivalent or quadrivalent vaccination series, should they receive additional vaccination with the 9vHPV vaccine?

That’s a good question, but it is NOT answered or addressed in the 2016 ACIP Adult Immunization schedule or its footnotes. However, guidance on the ACIP website does clarify: “There is NO ACIP recommendation for additional 9-v HPV vaccine doses” for anyone that’s already completed bivalent or quadrivalent vaccination series. (9) However, studies show no serious safety concerns with additional nine valent vaccination other than higher rates of injection site swelling and redness.(9) So the decision for additional vaccination is in the physician’s and parents’ hands.

Dispelling HPV Vaccine Myths

The HPV virus is sexually transmitted, with an estimated 6.2 million new infections (pre-HPV vaccine era) each year. (3) HPV vaccines are prophylactic vaccines, which means they must be given before exposure to the virus strain to be effective.(3) Studies show that immune response to the vaccine is best when given at younger ages. (8) That’s why it is recommended to be given at age 11-12 (but can be given as early as age 9). (8)

HPV vaccines are cancer-preventing vaccines, not “sex vaccines.” A recent study in Pediatrics confirmed that HPV vaccination was not associated with riskier sexual behaviors: vaccination will not cause your children to have sex. (10)

Most of us hope that our children will have marital sex and give us grandchildren. Although we can help shape our own children’s behaviors, we don’t know and cannot control the past behaviors of the person they choose to marry. (The number of lifetime and recent sexual partners is the most consistent predictor of HPV infection.) So think of this vaccine as cancer protection insurance for your child.

You can’t get an HPV infection from the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain any viral DNA whatsoever, so there is no way to become infected with the virus by getting the vaccine. (3)

You don’t need a pregnancy test before getting the vaccine, but the vaccine should NOT be given to women who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant soon. ACIP says the vaccine may be given to nursing moms. (3)

The vaccine is not meant to be a treatment for HPV infection (3), and women must still get regular cervical cancer screening beginning at age 21. (11)

New Evidence the Vaccine Seems to be Working

A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics and spearheaded by Dr. Laurie Markowitz demonstrates the effectiveness of the vaccine. HPV infection rates among 14- to 19-year-old girls for the four HPV types covered in the 4v HPV vaccine dropped 63 percent from 11.4 per-cent in 2006 (pre-vaccine era) to 4.3 percent in 2009-2012 (post-vaccine). (12)

Unfortunately, findings from the most recent National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in 2014 revealed disappointing HPV vaccination coverage rates for adults age 19-26. Only 40.2 percent of females and 8.2 percent of males had received at least one HPV vaccine dose.(2) Much greater protection could be achieved if all kids were vaccinated with this cancer-preventing vaccine.

Limited Opportunity

This is a prophylactic vaccine. Don’t let your kids or patients miss the window of opportunity for protection. Don’t underestimate the power of your recommendation. A recent study showed that women age 19-26 were overwhelmingly more likely to receive a HPV vaccination if it was recommended by their physician. (13) Encourage your patients, your family members and your friends to make sure their kids get vaccinated against HPV. These cancers can be eliminated if all kids receive this cancer-preventing vaccine.

References:

1. FACT SHEET: Investing in the National Cancer Moonshot, White house website. Available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/01/fact-sheet-investing-national-cancer-moonshot, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

2. Williams WW, Lu PJ, O’Halloran A, et al. Surveillance of Vaccination Coverage Among Adult Populations- United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016; 65(1):1-36.

3. Markowitz L, Dunne E, Saraiya M, Lawson H, Chesson H, Unger E, Quadrivalent Hu-man Papillomavirus Vaccine: Recommendations of ACIP, MMWR, March 23, 2007, Vo1 56, #RR02 FDA Licensure of Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV4, Gardasil) for Use in Males and Guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), MMWR, May 28, 2010 / 59(20);630-632.

4. Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV4, Gardasil) for Use in Males and Guidance from ACIPMMWR, May 28, 2010, Vo1 59, #20 Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5920a5.htm, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

5. Cevarix package insert, FDA website. Available at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM186981.pdf, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

6. Gardasil package insert, FDA website, Available at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM111263.pdf, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

7. Gardasil 9 package insert, Merck website, Available at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/g/gardasil_9/gardasil_9_pi.pdf, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

8. Petrosky E, Bocchini JA, Hariri S, Chesson H, Curtis CR, Saraiya M, et al. Use of 9-Valent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: Updated HPV Vaccination Recommenda-tions of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices MMWR. 2015;64(11);300-304.

9. Supplemental information and guidance for vaccination providers regarding use of 9-valent HPV vaccine. CDC webiste, Available at http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/downloads/9vhpv-guidance.pdf, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

10. Mayhew A, Kowalczyk Mullins T, Ding L, Rosenthal S, Zimet G, Morrow C, Kahn J, Risk Perceptions and Subsequent Sexual Behaviors After HPV Vaccination in Adoles-cents, Pediatrics 2014;133:1-8, Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2014/01/28/peds.2013-2822.full.pdf, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

11. Cervical Cancer Screening, ACOG website , Available at http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Cervical-Cancer-Screening, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

12. Markowitz L, Liu G, Hariri S, Steinau M, Dunne E, Unger E, Prevalence of HPV After Introduction of the Vaccination Program in the United States, Pediatrics 2016;137(2):e20151968, Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2016/02/19/peds.2015-1968.full.pdf, Accessed on March 23, 2016.

13. Rosenthal SL, Weiss TW, Zimet GD, Ma L, Good MB, Vichnin MD Predictors of HPV vaccine uptake among women aged 19-26: importance of a physi-cian’s recommendation. Vaccine. 2011 Jan 29;29(5):890-5. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.12.063. Epub 2010 Jan 5.

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Piedmont Receives Certificate of Need for Patient Tower

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

The Georgia Department of Community Health has granted Piedmont Atlanta Hospital a Certificate of Need (CON) for a new 16-story patient tower. Located on the corner of Peachtree and Collier roads, the new facility will provide updated amenities to patients in the community, as well as the Marcus Heart and Vascular Center, made possible in part by the Marcus Foundation.

“As our community grows, we have to adapt and provide adequate space and amenities to our patients,” said Patrick Battey, M.D., CEO of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. “Ongoing capacity issues with our current facility necessitates this new space.”

The tower will replace the Sheffield Building, currently located on the hospital’s main campus, with the first phase of the $603 million project complete around September 2020. Demolition will begin February, following some remediation. Fencing around Collier and Peachtree Roads has already begun and will be expanded in late March to the ambulance entry near the property adjacent to the Shepherd Center.

Phase two of the tower up-fit will begin in 2022 and one patient floor will be completed per year, except for 2026 when the final two floors will be built out. The total project duration will be 10 years.

“Through this new facility, we will be able to continue our long tradition of servicing our community with a patient-centric focus,” Dr. Battey said. “We are thrilled to receive CON approval and look forward to seeing the project progress.”

The project was a culmination of 32 partner companies led by CBRE as program manager, HKS, Inc. as architect, and Brasfield & Gorrie as general contractor. In addition, more than 1,000 people – patients, staff, neighbors and expansion leadership – provided input on the vision of the project through workshops and advisory meetings.

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WellStar Cancer Network Receives National Distinction

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

WellStar Health System’s Cancer Network has again been recognized for delivering world-class healthcare to its patients. Five WellStar hospitals have been granted a three-year accreditation with the Gold Commendation by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), a quality program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This is the highest honor awarded to a cancer program. WellStar Health System has achieved this honor twice, starting in 2013. Only 50 health systems in the United States have received this distinction.

To earn CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet or exceed the CoC’s quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process and show excellence in the delivery of patient-centered care. Three-year accreditation with Commendation is only awarded to a facility that exceeds the standard requirements at the time of its survey.

“This accreditation and Outstanding Achievement Award could not have been made possible without our gifted and passionate team,” said Michael Andrews, M.D., WellStar Chief Cancer Officer. “The Commission on Cancer and the American College of Surgeons are both well respected and distinguished institutions. This distinction is an indication of the quality of care we deliver to our patients every day.”

The hospitals accredited by the CoC are WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Kennestone, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals. WellStar Health System takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultations among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership between physicians and care teams can make an impact on the patient’s experience

Like all CoC-accredited facilities, WellStar’s accredited facilities maintain a cancer registry and contribute data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society. This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data of all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.

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Emory Pioneer Achieves Milestone for Cardiac Robotic Surgery

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital cardiothoracic surgeon Douglas Murphy, MD has achieved a world record after completing his 2,000th robotically assisted mitral valve surgery. Murphy is a pioneer in the field of robotics, performing the state’s first robotic heart surgery at Emory Saint Joseph’s in 2002.

Robotically-assisted heart surgery is a type of minimally invasive heart surgery performed by a cardiac surgeon using a specially-designed computer to control surgical instruments on thin robotic arms.

“Dr. Murphy is one of the world’s most experienced and innovative robotic heart surgeons,” says Robert Guyton, Distinguished Charles Ross Hatcher, Jr., Professor of Surgery and Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine. “This outstanding career achievement is a reminder of all he has done to advance the field of robotics and give thousands of heart patients less invasive treatment options.”

Prior to this groundbreaking achievement, Murphy was an early advocate of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. He successfully led one of the first U.S. cardiac surgery teams as the principal investigator in clinical trials using the Intuitive da Vinci® Surgical System for atrial septal defect repair and coronary bypasses prior to FDA approval. Because of his achievements, Emory Saint Joseph’s was named the exclusive cardiac southeastern training center for the daVinci system in 2004.

Since that time, Murphy has trained surgical teams around the world in the LEAR technique (Lateral Endoscopic Approach using Robotics). The technique, developed by Murphy’s team, allows open heart surgery to be performed through five small holes in the right chest. Murphy has published many scientific papers on the use and success of robotic cardiac surgery. One of the most experienced and innovative robotic heart surgeons in the world, Murphy remains active in performing, researching and teaching robotic heart surgery.

“Patients appreciate the less invasive aspect of the LEAR technique with its fast recovery. The driving force for LEAR surgeons, however, has been the ability to perform state-of-the-art cardiac procedures with very low complication rates,” says Murphy.

Murphy received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, followed by the completion of his internal medicine and general surgery residencies at Massachusetts General Hospital. After completing his cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Emory in 1983, Murphy joined the Department of Surgery faculty and established the Emory Cardiac Transplant Team. In 1987, he was appointed director of cardiac transplantation at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, and performed the facility’s first heart transplant that year. Murphy also chaired the Heart and Vascular Institute from 2007 to 2009.

Murphy, an associate professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, currently serves in two roles at Emory Saint Joseph’s: as the chief of cardiothoracic surgery, a position he has held since 1995; and since 2010 as the director of robotics.

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Towns at Druid Hills

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Towns at Druid Hills ExteriorRich in history, Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood offers a vibrant lifestyle for people of all ages. Druid Hills contains historic mansions built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, verdant parks and trails, and close proximity to world-renowned Emory University, Emory School of Medicine and Emory Healthcare. It’s also home to burgeoning new construction in response to a growing demand for new homes with modern amenities in the area.

CalAtlantic Homes at Towns at Druid Hills — a new, gated community of luxury townhomes located in the heart of this historic Atlanta neighborhood — offers a plush retreat from the hustle and bustle of nearby Atlanta. Location and amenities make these townhomes the perfect choice for young professionals, families and empty nesters.

A cozy community of 65 homes with pool and amenities center, Towns at Druid Hills offers great walkability to a wide range of services. Banks, grocery stores, healthcare, restaurants, entertainment, fitness clubs and landmark Toco Hill shopping center are all within easy walking distance.Towns at Druid Hills

The nearby North Druid Hills neighborhood offers fabulous parks for family fun, including Kittredge Park, with athletic fields, multiuse court and a pool, and W.D. Thomson Park, with a playground and trails. Families will also love the closeness to area schools, including Briar Vista Elementary School, Druid Hills Middle School, Druid Hills High School, Paideia School and The Lovett School.

Additionally, Towns at Druid Hills’ location offers easy access to major interstates (I-85, I-75 and I-285), making it ideal for a convenient commute to downtown Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and other destinations.

Phase I of Towns at Druid Hills currently has five different floor plans available, each with a variety of design options from which to choose:

  • The Berkeley. Starting from $497,900, this three-story home is 2,817 square feet, with four bedrooms, 3.5 baths and a two-car garage.
  • The Bristol. Starting from $502,900, this three-story home is 2,870 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and a two-car garage.
  • The Brookdale. Starting from $481,900, this three-story, 2,715 square foot home features 3-bedrooms, 3.5 baths and two-car garage.
  • The Newport. Starting at $507,900, this 2,960 square foot, three-story home has 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and two-car garage.
  • The Oakleigh. Starting at $499,900, this three-story, 2,898 square foot home has 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and two-car garage.

Quick move-ins are currently available for all five floor plans in Phase I. Phase II of Towns at Druid Hills is scheduled to open in 2017.

Come see why Towns at Druid Hills offers both a plush retreat from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta and ready access to the culture and sophistication of the big city! For more information, photos and driving directions to these new luxury townhomes in historic Druid Hills, visit Towns at Druid Hills, or call 404-634-4485.

CalAtlantic Homes at Towns at Druid Hills

1787 Stephanie Trail

Atlanta, GA 30329

 

Hours:

Monday: 12pm-6pm

Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-6pm

Sunday: 12pm-6pm

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