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Archive for January, 2017

Towns at Druid Hills

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Distinctive Look, Quality Construction, Desirable Location are Hallmarks of Towns at Druid Hills

Looking for a luxurious new home community with a timeless, traditional appearance? The townhomes at Towns at Druid Hills feature the latest in home styles and trends, along with top quality design and construction elements.

Towns at Druid Hills ExteriorOn the outside…
A mixture of brick and stone facades and hardiplank siding, with plenty of gables and columns, evoke a traditional feel at Towns of Druid Hills. Architectural roofing shingles manufactured by CertainTeed add an impressive, distinctive appearance. And because the community is HOA-managed, all of the important exterior details like landscaping, main gate security and pool/cabana area are meticulously maintained for the comfort of residents and lots of curb appeal.

Towns at Druid HillsOn the inside…
You’ll find beautiful elements like wide plank hardwood flooring, crown molding, oversized baseboards and quartz countertops in every home at Towns of Druid Hills. Each comes with its own individual security system, energy efficient heating and cooling system, gas fireplace, built-in bookcases in the family room, stainless steel Whirlpool kitchen appliances, Moen faucets, double showers with bench seating in the master bath and more.

Options galore…
Towns at Druid Hills offers a choice of five different floor plans, ranging from 2,715 sq. ft. to 2,960 sq. ft., plus a large selection of design and finish elements to customize and personalize your new home, such as:
• Hardwood, tile and carpet
• Painted or stained cabinetry
• Stone or ceramic backsplashes

Additionally, Towns of Druid Hills is nestled right in the heart of historic Druid Hills, a neighborhood that offers a vibrant lifestyle for people of all ages. Residents will enjoy easy walkability to nearby services, healthcare, shopping, entertainment, parks and schools. With easy access to I-85, I-75 and I-285, Towns of Druid Hills is ideal for those who want a convenient commute to downtown Atlanta, Hartsfield International Airport and other destinations.

Come see why Towns at Druid Hills offers the quality design, construction and location you’ve been seeking! Townhomes start at $536,060 in this cozy community of 65 homes. Phase I is open now, with several finished homes from which to choose. Construction of Phase II is set to begin soon!

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

Monday: 12pm-6pm
Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-6pm
Sunday: 12pm-6pm


Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Breaks Ground on Center for Advanced Pediatrics

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta broke ground on the Center for Advanced Pediatrics — a new pediatric ambulatory care center.

The new 260,000-square-foot facility situated at I-85 and North Druid Hills Road in Brookhaven will bring together pediatric clinics and specialists under one roof. Many patients come to Children’s with complex conditions that require frequent visits to multiple specialists and clinics. These kids and their families face the stress of coordinating with different care teams while also juggling logistics such as parking and traveling from one physician’s office to another.

“The Center for Advanced Pediatrics will be a pediatric destination for the Southeast because it will have both complex care and research capabilities in one facility,” said Patrick Frias, M.D., Chief Operating Officer of Children’s. “This innovative facility will improve the patient experience and create a destination where much of what these families need medically for their kids is in one centralized hub.”

The Center for Advanced Pediatrics will house 457 physicians and employees and anticipates managing more than 100,000 patient visits in the first year.

Pulmonology, neurology, cardiology and diabetes are just a few of the specialties that will move into the new building, which will be centrally located to Children’s three hospital campuses, Egleston, Hughes Spalding and Scottish Rite. Almost an entire floor of the new building will be dedicated to treatment and research for breathing and airways, bringing together the areas of pulmonology, allergy/immunology, cystic fibrosis and sleep. Basic imaging and phlebotomy services will be available in-house for quick and easy access. A pediatric research center in the building will provide a convenient, dedicated location for patients to participate in clinical research trials.

In addition to physician space, the new facility will have state-of-the-art telemedicine capabilities, flexible exam rooms, a teaching classroom and a demonstration kitchen to enhance specific clinical programs. Additional features of the site include gardens and green space around the building and a dedicated parking deck.


Emory Saint Joseph’s Introduces LASIK Technology at Emory Vision

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Emory Vision, the LASIK service of Emory Eye Center, now offers the very latest equipment available to make LASIK procedures even more comfortable and convenient for patients at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

The Zeiss VisuMax femotosecond laser uses groundbreaking technology to give surgeons outstanding cutting precision and unsurpassed speed while still being gentle to the patient. Emory Vision is the first academic medical center-affiliated facility in the state to have the VisuMax laser.

During a LASIK procedure, the surgeon improves the patient’s vision by using a laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea (the clear covering on the front of the eye). Older LASIK equipment required the surgeon to flatten the cornea in order to make the necessary cuts, with theideal outcome being a nice curved line when the cornea returned to its natural shape, but  results could vary.

The VisuMax is built so the surgeon can make a three-dimensional, curved incision along the cornea’s natural surface instead of flattening it. Incisions are accurate down to the micron level (as a comparison, a credit card is about 500 microns thick).

The equipment is further enhanced by including three different sizes of contact glasses (the guides to cut the corneal flaps) to ensure a better fit to the patient’s cornea.

“The first step of the LASIK procedure involves creating a flap incision in the cornea,” explains John Kim, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology and director of cornea and refractive services at Emory Eye Center. “Previously available lasers required very high pressures to flatten the cornea to make the incision. This regularly caused the patient’s vision to briefly ‘black out’ during the procedure. The new VisuMax laser requires less pressure so there is less discomfort for the patient and no loss of vision during the procedure.”

Another bonus for the patient and surgeon is a shorter procedure time because of a laser pulse frequency of 500 kHz.


Emory Saint Joseph’s New Lung Cancer Screening Breakthrough

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute (Winship) have launched a comprehensive lung cancer screening program for Emory Healthcare that offers a low-dose CT (computed tomography) scan for patients most at risk for developing the disease. The CT scan is recommended for current or former smokers ages 55-80 who have a 30 pack-year smoking history (packs per day x total years smoked = pack years) or for those who have quit within the past 15 years.

“Our goal is to detect lung cancer early,” says Stephen Szabo, MD, director of
Winship’s community oncology at Emory Saint Joseph’s, “and our program is unique because we have a team of specialists in radiology, oncology, cardiothoracic surgery and pulmonology providing a continuum of care for each patient.” Participants also have access to the latest clinical trials and cutting edge new therapies within one academic medical system.

“Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and for women.  This comprehensive lung cancer screening program will increase the chances of detecting any lung cancers at an earlier, more curable stage” says Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, Winship’s executive director.

Patients meeting the criteria for the CT scan are required to have a provider referral. Emory Saint Joseph and Winship will assist those candidates without a referral by scheduling a shared decision making appointment with a provider on site in order to facilitate the screening.

Once the scan is completed and read by a radiologist within 48 hours, the multidisciplinary team will determine the best care plan for each patient based upon the results, whether it is immediate treatment or an annual follow up appointment.

Patients that have nodules identified during the screening are provided an appointment within 48 hours for a lung nodule consultation with a physician who is a part of the multidisciplinary team.

According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer and research shows that lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans and appropriate follow-up care significantly reduce lung cancer deaths. The CT scan of the chest is used to screen for pulmonary nodules – collections of abnormal tissue within the lungs that may be early manifestations of lung cancer. These nodules are often detectable by lung screening before physical symptoms of lung cancer develop.


The Future of Healthcare

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

By Helen K. Kelley

The landscape of healthcare in America is facing rapid change, from the way care is delivered to a renewed focus on the physician-patient relationship. Here, three Atlanta-area physicians weigh in on what they believe the future of healthcare holds for physicians and patients.

Shared decision-making, technology help drive healthy behaviors

Mary L. Wilson, M.D.

Mary L. Wilson, M.D.

According to Mary L. Wilson, M.D., president and executive medical director of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, technology and involving patients in the decision-making about their own care are effective tools for better creating better outcomes, both for today and in the future.

“One of Kaiser Permanente’s primary tenets is finding methods that successfully encourage healthy behaviors in our patients. We look at every physician visit as an opportunity to talk about healthy habits with the patient, and we cue that conversation up through the patient’s EMR,” she said. “The EMR prompts the nurse and physician to ask probing questions about the patient’s lifestyle, including exercise and eating habits, to gauge whether or not the patient is open to discussing ways to improve their health. If the patient indicates interest in making changes and the physician intervenes at the right moment, there is a much higher rate of success.”

Wilson says that the EMR will continue to play a role in the future in patient satisfaction and better health.

“The EMR helps us link with patients so that we can ask the right questions and encourage them to share in decision-making,” she explained. “We find that patients are likely to have better outcomes if they play a part in designing their own healthcare. And the EMR is a tool that helps us help our patients achieve their goals.”

Wilson adds that Kaiser, in response to patients’ growing interest in and reliance on technology, is looking at ways to make medical records more accessible.

“Here in Georgia, we’re thinking about having open notes in patient charts so that the patient can access his or her whole medical record online any time they want,” she said.

Returning to a patient-centric system

Thomas E. Bat, M.D., president of the Medical Association of Atlanta and CEO of North Atlanta Primary Care, PC, says he believes the recent presidential election holds important ramifications for our current healthcare system.

“For years, I’ve said that regardless of who’s running the show in Washington, managed care would probably never go away. Now, all bets are off. I think it’s possible that Donald Trump could tear up healthcare as we know it and move us away from the current system,” he said. “The question is, how will he actually accomplish that?”

While he believes in an open market for healthcare insurance, Bat feels that the Affordable Care Act has ended up doing exactly

Thomas E. Bat, M.D.

Thomas E. Bat, M.D.

the opposite of what it was intended to do and that rising costs are beyond what the average American can afford. Ultimately, he feels that the future of healthcare lies in restoring the physician-patient relationship as the very core of the way care is delivered to every citizen.

“Our current protocol determines how long patients have to wait for treatment and limits how physicians evaluate their patients and prescribe treatment. We’re forced to deliver care that is determined by a government-based treatment plan rather than on what we know the individual patient needs. Additionally, most physicians go into medicine to actually be doctors, but they end up frustrated with the system that governs the way they deliver care,” he said. “The current administration says there are no other alternatives. But we need to go back to a world where a doctor is a doctor and a patient is a patient. If we don’t find a way to create a physician-patient-centric system to reward physicians for working hard and patients for taking care of themselves, we all lose.”

Patient-centered doctors to usher in new age of healthcare

James Sams, M.D.

James Sams, M.D.

James Sams, M.D. and CEO of Privia Medical Group Georgia also believes that the doctor-patient relationship will move to the forefront of how healthcare is managed in the future.

“I’m very excited and optimistic about the profession of medicine. I think the next Golden Age of Medicine is in front of us and within our grasp,” he said. “And I believe it will be ushered in by physicians who are truly capable of being patient-centered.”

Sams feels that physicians are faced with making an important choice right now that will determine their future and their success.

“In my opinion, the future value in practicing medicine, both professionally and economically, will be given to physicians who make the choice to be patient-centered,” he said. “Achieving better outcomes at lower costs will be their focus, thereby unlocking this new value.”

Sams adds that patient-centered physicians will always keep in mind that their greatest responsibility is to their patients.

“If we prescribe care that our patients cannot afford, we’re not being their advocates or doing them a service,” he said.



Social Media and Healthcare

Just about everyone in America, from children to seniors, uses some form of social media. So it’s not surprising that social media has changed the way that people seek out information. Social media has become a powerful marketing tool and one that will likely continue to influence decision-making, including the choices people make regarding their health.

Here are five interesting statistics that show how social media has impacted the healthcare system in America:

  1. Forty-one percent of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical practice. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
  1. Sixty percent of physicians report that one of their most popular activities on social media is following what colleagues are sharing and discussing. (source: Health Care Communication)
  1. Parents are more likely to seek medical answers online: 22% use Facebook and 20% use YouTube. Of non-parents, 14% use Facebook and 12% use YouTube to search for health care related topics. (source: Mashable)
  1. Sixty percent of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
  1. Thirty percent of adults are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients, 47% with doctors, 43% with hospitals, 38% with a health insurance company and 32% with a drug company. (source: Fluency Media)

Prescribing Opioids: A Question of Balance

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

By P. Tennent Slack, M.D.

P. Tennent Slack

P. Tennent Slack, MD

On considering the implications of a recent MedScape article, “The Opioid Crisis: Anatomy of a Doctor-Driven Epidemic,” it would seem that the attention that is focused on the issue of the prescription opioid overdose problem has finally reached critical mass. As physicians and prescribers, we find ourselves at the epicenter of a controversy that is fundamentally a practice-of-medicine question.

Unfortunately, the medical community at large has not approached the prescription opioid problem from a practice-of-medicine perspective, and we have consequently invited forces outside of medicine to have a growing influence over this arena. Most physicians would agree, however, that opioids play a vital role in the treatment of pain in a wide variety of settings and that physicians are best positioned to influence how and when an opioid should be used.

As many of you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued opioid prescribing guidelines that have garnered considerable attention. These kinds of guidelines are nothing new. Guidelines often contain finer points that don’t always achieve universal agreement, and the CDC’s recommendations are no exception.

As opposed to many other medical treatment scenarios, the book on opioid-based pain treatment is written not in black and white but in gray, which further promotes a lack of consensus. This ambiguity resides at the heart of the confusion and controversy surrounding how to rationally use this important tool in the pain-treatment toolbox.

As part of its ‘Think About It’ campaign, the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation has developed a Six-Point Opioid Prescribing Platform that captures the essence of discriminating opioid prescribing. This platform has been approved and endorsed by the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG), the Georgia Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (GSIPP) and the Georgia Society of Addiction Medicine (GSAM).

These organizations believe that these simple points can be useful in day-to-day treatment decisions across the spectrum of pain treatment, from acute to chronic, and can be used to promote more discriminating opioid prescribing. At the end of the day, however, the decision to deploy opioid therapy is a medical judgement, and as such there will always be unintended consequences. As physicians, the best we can do is to mitigate undesirable outcomes through discriminating prescribing.


The SixPoint Opioid Prescribing Platform

  1. How definable is the source of pain?

As is true with the treatment of any disease process, the risk-benefit assessment of a therapeutic intervention is influenced by our ability to define the disease. In cases where the source of pain is poorly defined, this should be considered when deciding whether or not to use opioid therapy. A poorly defined source of pain does NOT mean that opioid therapy shouldn’t be used.

  1. Consider all treatment options.

The gamut of pain treatment options ranges from biofeedback techniques to surgery. Treatment options should clearly begin with the lowest risk treatments, which often involve the temporary cessation of pain-inducing activities, ice/heat, NSAIDs, etc. The decision to use opioid therapy should ALWAYS occur within a paradigm of risk-benefit assessment rather than a reflexive action.

  1. SCREEN for risk of addiction/abuse.

There are a number of different screening questionnaire tools, some of which are quite extensive, others of which are very simple. As a practical matter, however, there are a handful of high-yield questions that should ALWAYS be asked when initiating opioid therapy: “Have you or a family member ever had a problem overusing pain pills that have been prescribed following an injury or painful procedure?” “Have you or a family member ever had a substance or alcohol abuse problem?”

  1. If opioids are prescribed, target the LOWEST effective dose and the LOWEST number of pills per prescription.

An excellent way to do this is to simply ask the patient, “What is the lowest dose and least number of pills I can prescribe for you in one bottle?” This immediately assigns responsibility to the patient and gives the prescriber an insight into the patient’s understanding and expectations surrounding opioid therapy. Be aware of Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law, which allows you to prescribe or co‐prescribe naloxone (typically an intranasal delivery system) to a patient for use by non‐medical personnel for emergency opioid overdose rescue.

  1. Educate the patient.

‐ Advise the patient of the risks/benefits of opioid therapy

‐ Advise the patient that sharing or using other people’s prescription medication is ILLEGAL

‐Advise the patient of proper prescription drug storage and disposal methods. (Note: All of the above are highlighted in the ‘Think About It’ patient pamphlets that can be obtained by calling 678.303.9282 or going to

  1. Monitor the patient for opioid overuse/diversion. If opioid therapy is sustained, use Georgia’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Information on how to sign up for and use the PDMP is available at the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, or call 404.656.5100.

3-D Imaging Now Being Offered at Northside Hospital for Detecting Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Urologists at Northside Hospital are now using a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound with computer-aided detection to produce real-time 3-D images of the prostate to see cancer earlier and better track its progression.

Artemis with ProFuse Bx is a 3-D ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy platform from Eigen. The technology allows doctors to see  3-D images of the prostate and guide the needle during biopsy, while mapping the precise location of the tumor (within a millimeter) so that they can return to it later for follow up. Northside is the first hospital in Metro Atlanta to acquire the Artemis system.

More cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed and treated at Northside Hospital than anywhere else in Georgia. The hospital offers a comprehensive prostate cancer treatment program, which includes screening and advanced diagnostic capabilities, leading-edge treatment and support.

Approximately 5,570 men in Georgia will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men (1 in 7 men will get it). Early detection is key in successfully treating many cancers. However, prostate cancer can be slow growing and take years to develop. Men diagnosed with the disease usually have time to consider all available treatment options, gather additional opinions and, with the help of their doctor, decide on which option is best for them.

“Still, new methods are needed to help physicians improve disease staging, select the most appropriate treatment and provide the best long-term follow-up for patients,” said Dr. Mark Haber, urologist, Georgia Urology.

The most common tools historically used to evaluate prostate cancer tumors and growth include prostate ultrasound, MRI and biopsy. The problem with each of these is, when used separately, they have limitations. Ultrasound only provides two-dimensional images. MRI is a high-powered magnet, which prevents the use of needles during the procedure. Biopsy alone does not give doctors a full picture of the cancer, leaving doctors basically blind and at risk of having to stick the patient multiple times.

However, when these modalities are combined, the result is a more accurate diagnosis along with better information regarding the exact location and extent of the disease, providing information that helps doctors and patients both make a smart, individualized choice about prostate cancer management or treatment.

“MRI technology and specifically, fusion biopsy, provides a more personalized and tailored approach to local prostate cancer treatment options,” said Dr. Vahan Kassabian, urologist and medical director of Georgia Urology. “This allows us to minimize potential urinary and sexual side effects.”

Northside Hospital leads the way in groundbreaking procedures for better outcomes for patients with prostate cancer, offering a wide range of treatments – from the minimally invasive to the latest advances in robotic surgery.

Every case of prostate cancer is different and based on the patient’s age, stage of the disease and their doctor’s advice, treatment options will vary. Beginning at age 50, men at average risk (no family history) for developing prostate cancer should begin to discuss the pros and cons of screening with their doctor. Men at high risk for developing prostate cancer should begin discussing screening even sooner.

For more information about prostate cancer care at Northside Hospital, visit Northside Hospital.


White Coat Day at the Capitol

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

January 25, Atlanta. For more information, visit Medical Association of Atlanta


SESPRS Annual Atlanta Breast Surgery Symposium

Friday, January 20th, 2017

January 20-22, Intercontinental Hotel, Atlanta. For more, visit Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.


Georgia Trauma Commission’s 7th Strategic Planning Workshop

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

January 19-29, Macon. For more information, visit Georgia Trauma Commission.



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