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Cancer Treatment Centers of America Publishes Cancer Patient Treatment Results

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national network of five hospitals, announced the release of its fifth annual Patient Treatment Results, a transparent and comprehensive reporting of patient treatment outcomes for 11 cancer types, including the most common:

• Breast cancer
• Colon cancer
• Esophageal cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Lung cancer
• Ovarian cancer
• Pancreatic cancer
• Prostate cancer
• Rectal cancer
• Stomach cancer

The Patient Treatment Results report reflects an industry-leading standard for transparency, as less than 10 percent of all cancer care providers in the U.S. publish their results. The CTCA report includes data on length of life, quality of life, care experience, and patient safety and quality results. The report is available for download via the CTCA website, at

“To our knowledge, this new report is among the most complete in the nation in terms of reporting of treatment results, patient ratings of their experience, and self-reported quality of life data from the beginning of treatment through return visitation,” said Raj Garg, MD, JD, President and CEO of CTCA. “Today’s release reaffirms our commitment to providing patients and their families with information that will help them make more informed choices about their care.”

The 2017/2018 Patient Treatment Results book provides five-year survival rates for CTCA patients treated between 2000 and 2013 for 11 cancer types, including complex cancers such as pancreatic and small cell lung cancers. Additionally, the report supplies companion survival data for each cancer type as reported by the National Cancer Institute in its Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. The report also details various safety and quality of life measurements during treatment, which are not typically reported by other oncology treatment centers.


Dr. Dhaval Desai named Outstanding Clinician of the Year by Emory University’s Department of Medicine

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Desai DhavalDhaval Desai, MD, director of hospital medicine at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, has been named Outstanding Clinician of the Year by Emory University’s Department of Medicine. Each year, the Department of Medicine gives awards in multiple categories, from clinical to research to education.

Desai was awarded this honor from among more than 800 faculty in the divisions of cardiology; digestive diseases; endocrinology, metabolism and lipids; general medicine and geriatrics; hospital medicine; infectious diseases; pulmonary, allergy, critical care and sleep medicine; renal medicine; and rheumatology.

The criteria for the award are outstanding quality of patient care, commitment to team-oriented delivery of patient care, excellent rapport with non-physician clinical staff, participation in quality improvement projects, accessibility and commitment to collaboration with other physicians and dedication to the continuing education of physician colleagues through lecture and informal discussion of medical cases.

Desai has worked at Emory Saint Joseph’s since 2012, and served as the director of hospital medicine since July 2015. During his tenure, the hospital has seen a significant increase in patient satisfaction, and a decrease in patients’ length of stay.


Negative Mood’s Affect on Radiology Procedures

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Nadja Kadom, MDPatients who feel scared, distressed or hostile before undergoing an interventional radiology procedure may experience a poor outcome, according to research presented at the Radiological Society of North American Annual Meeting in Chicago on Dec. 3, 2015.

Nadja Kadom, MD, acting associate professor of radiology, Emory University School of Medicine, and colleagues at the Boston Medical Center, where Kadom was on the faculty prior to coming to Emory, studied 230 patients who underwent image-guided vascular or kidney interventional radiology procedures in Boston, Mass. Before their interventions, they completed the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), a questionnaire to assess their mood, which contained 20 adjectives —10 related to positive affect (PA) and 10 related to negative affect (NA).

“NA or negative mood has been found to be associated with undesirable health outcomes such as hypertension, bradycardia (a slow heart rate) and prolonged hypoxia (reduced supply of oxygen),” says Kadom. “We wanted to look at patients undergoing radiological procedures and see whether a negative mood could play a role in negative events occurring.”

On the mood evaluation, negative adjectives included: distressed, upset, scared, hostile, irritable, plus others; while positive adjectives included: interested, excited, proud, inspired, determined and more. Using a five-point rating scale, the study participants (120 women and 110 men) were asked to indicate how they felt in general – on average – based on these terms, not necessarily just before their procedure began.

Kadom and colleagues grouped the patients based on high and low scores for negative affect and high and low scores for positive affect. Higher scores indicated more overall NA or PA affect.

“We were surprised to find that between the high negative numbers and the low negative numbers, there was a difference in outcomes,” says Kadom. “Patients with high NA had significantly more adverse events than those with low NA,” (22% vs. 12%). “There was no significant difference in adverse outcomes for high versus low PA,” (18% vs. 15%).

The researchers determined that NA was associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as decreased cardiovascular reactivity. Participants in this study with high NA scores had an increased risk of prolonged hypoxia, hypertensive or hypotensive episodes, prolonged bradycardia and post-operative bleeding.

The effect of high NA was independent of high or low PA. Since NA and PA represent different aspects of mood, they can exist independently of each other. As an example, it is possible that a patient is scared (NA) of undergoing a procedure, and at the same time, is excited (PA) about getting minimally invasive treatment instead of undergoing surgery.

“By using a short questionnaire before an interventional radiology procedure, this study tells us that we may be able to identify patients at risk of having adverse events or poor outcomes in advance of that procedure,” says Kadom. “Our team should then be able to distract negative thinking of patients by talking to them, and by guiding a patient’s thoughts, for example encouraging them to imagine their last great vacation, or assisting in self-guided hypnosis.”

The study was made up of participants ranging in age from 18 to 92 years old, with a mean age of 55.


Emory Offering Breakthrough Heart Failure Monitoring Device

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

CardiomemsEmory Healthcare is the first health care system in Atlanta offering patients a miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor, implanted in the pulmonary artery (PA), to help remotely manage heart failure (HF).

The CardioMEMS HF System is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has demonstrated in clinical trials to reduce hospital admissions when used by physicians to manage heart failure.

During a non-surgical procedure, the CardioMEMS device is delivered to the heart via catheter and implanted in the PA. The paper clip-sized sensor directly measures pressure inside the PA.

Increased PA pressures appear before weight and blood pressure changes, which are often used as indirect measures of worsening heart failure.

Once implanted, the wireless sensor sends regular PA pressure readings to an external patient electronic system, allowing physicians to monitor the patient’s heart failure status and offer proactive management of the disease. There is no pain or sensation for patients during the readings.

“This is a breakthrough development in the monitoring of our heart failure patients,” says cardiologist Rob Cole, MD, assistant professor of medicine (cardiology), Emory University School of Medicine.

“We’re able to detect changes from a distance and, if needed, adjust a patient’s medication regimen to stabilize PA pressures, ultimately reducing thier likelihood of visiting a hospital.”

Cole and his Emory colleagues recently implanted Metro Atlanta’s first CardioMEMS device since FDA approval was granted last year. Emory Healthcare has been implanting the device for several years during a national clinical trial for the new technology.

“Our study findings showed a statistically significant reduction in heart failure-related hospitalizations for the participants whose doctors had access to this critically important pulmonary artery pressure data,” says Cole.

The CHAMPION clinical trial studied the effectiveness of the CardioMEMS HF System in New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification System class III heart failure patients who had been hospitalized for heart failure in the previous 12 months.

Results of the trial demonstrated a statistically significant 28 percent reduction in the rate of heart failure hospitalizations at six months, and 37 percent reduction in heart failure hospitalizations during an average follow-up duration of 15 months.

Roughly 1.4 million patients in the U.S. have NYHA Class III heart failure, and historically these patients account for nearly half of all heart failure hospitalizations.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5.1 million Americans have heart failure, with 670,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Patients with heart failure are frequently hospitalized, have a reduced quality of life and face a higher risk of death.

The CardioMEMS HF System, from device manufacturer St. Jude Medical, was invented at Georgia Tech using technology created to sense the pressure changes in jet engines. The CardioMEMS sensor is designed to last the lifetime of the patient and does not require batteries.


New CEO for American Cancer Society

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Gary M. ReedyThe American Cancer Society has announced that Gary M. Reedy has been selected by the Society’s Board of Directors as its next chief executive officer, effective April 27, 2015. Reedy replaces John Seffrin, Ph.D., who has served as CEO of the Society since 1992 and previously announced his retirement in January 2014.

Reedy joins the Society after serving as Worldwide Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy with Johnson & Johnson. He has more than three decades of domestic and international experience in the health care industry and 15 years of experience as a volunteer leader with the American Cancer Society.

“After conducting a thorough and deliberate selection process, our Board of Directors is very pleased that Gary will lead the American Cancer Society to its next chapter as we continue working to eliminate cancer as a major health problem,” said Robert Youle, chair of the Society’s Board of Directors. “He has the breadth and depth of experience we were looking for in our next CEO. We are confident that Gary will continue the organization’s commitment and diligent work to save even more lives from cancer.”

Reedy is a seasoned executive who has enjoyed long and distinguished careers in both the private and nonprofit sectors. An active Society volunteer since 2000, Reedy has an outstanding record of service to the organization, having served as chair of the Society’s Board of Directors.

“I am honored the American Cancer Society Board of Directors has chosen me to lead the organization at a time in history that such significant progress is being made against cancer,” said Reedy. “I look forward to working with members of the board, the Society’s leadership and experts, and our millions of dedicated volunteers and health coalition partners to continue advancing the life-saving work of the Society.”

During his 37-year career in the health care industry, Reedy held senior leadership positions with SmithKline Beecham, Centocor, and Johnson & Johnson. He retired from Johnson & Johnson March 27, 2015.

Beyond the American Cancer Society, Reedy’s service in the nonprofit sector is equally impressive. He serves on the boards of directors of Emory & Henry College, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund. He recently served as an officer on the C-Change board of directors and was a charter member of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. Reedy will be based in Atlanta, Georgia.


New Medical Director for Piedmont Heart Institute

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Andrew Boyle, MD

Andrew Boyle, MD

Piedmont Heart Institute has named Andrew Boyle, M.D. as the new medical director for its Advanced Heart Failure Center. As Piedmont continues to grow its advanced heart failure program, Dr. Boyle oversees the medical management of heart transplant, mechanical circulatory support, heart failure and cardiomyopathy patients. He most recently oversaw the heart transplant program at the Cleveland Clinic Florida.

“Piedmont Heart Institute has taken an aggressive approach in fulfilling the critical need for advanced heart failure services in the southeast,” said Charles Brown III, M.D., chief of cardiovascular services for Piedmont Heart Institute. “In just a few short years our talented team has established one of the most successful mechanical circulatory support programs in the country and expanded our transplant services to include heart. Dr. Boyle’s leadership will help ensure Piedmont Heart Institute continues to grow as a recognized leader not only in the southeast, but across the United States as well.”

According to the American College of Cardiology, despite major improvements in the treatment of most cardiac disorders, heart failure remains a challenge and is the most common cause of hospitalization. Advanced heart failure centers like Piedmont enable physicians to focus on their specialties and provide the latest technologies and therapies to patients with complex and life-threatening heart disease.

Dr. Boyle comes to Piedmont from the Cleveland Clinic Florida, where he oversaw the heart transplant program and served as chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine Center and director of the Heart and Vascular Institute.

After earning his medical degree from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Boyle completed his internal medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and fellowships in cardiovascular disease and heart failure transplantation at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Boyle is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both cardiovascular disease and heart failure and transplant cardiology. He is also a member of the Heart Failure Society of America and the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant.


New Hi-Tech Screening Device Helps Detect Cervical Cancer

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Dr. Holt Harrison

Dr. Holt Harrison

A new computerized diagnostic tool designed to assist in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous cervical lesions, called DySIS™ Advanced Cervical Imaging System, is making its U.S. debut, after undergoing extensive testing and review in Europe.

Endorsed by the U.K. National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, the new FDA-cleared medical device is praised by physicians for its ability to help identify abnormalities on the cervix, which can sometimes escape detection during a standard colposcopy. A colposcopy is a diagnostic exam, usually administered after an abnormal Pap smear, in which a doctor applies a special solution to the cervix. Then, peers into a binocular viewer, called a colposcope, to look for areas that turn white, indicating abnormal cells and that a cervical biopsy may be needed.

“The DySIS system is a next generation colposcope, offering important advancements that improve the examination procedure for both doctors and patients,” said Dr. Holt Harrison of the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Heritage OB/GYN in Gainesville, one of the first OB/GYN practices in the U.S. to offer the new computer-assisted screening device.

The DySIS Advanced Cervical Imaging System is used by the examining physician as follows:

  • A high-resolution digital image of the cervix is displayed on the DySIS touch screen to allow normal assessment of the cervical area. Image color, brightness, contrast, and magnification of the displayed image can be adjusted.
  • Acetic acid, which turns abnormal cervical cells white, is applied to the surface of the cervix by the physician via a built-in syringe with a diffuser for instant homogenized coverage over the cervix.
  • The operator uses the intuitive touch screen interface to conduct a standard colposcopic examination while DySIS uses Dynamic Spectral Imaging to record the entire acetowhitening process.
  • The system then produces a DySISmap™ Advanced Cervical Scan, which is like a weather map, in that it shows the precise areas of the cervix where acetowhitening is most extreme and most likely to contain abnormal cells.
  • The physician refers to the DySISmap and marks biopsy points that may be needed based on the information displayed, as well as other examination information.
  • The scanned digital image of the cervix and DySISmap showing acetowhitening and biopsy points are then saved, along with patient notes entered via the touch screen.

A traditional colposcopy can often be very frightening for a patient, because, during the examination, they have no idea what the doctor is looking at or thinking, Dr. Harrison said:

“Thirty seconds of silence can seem like five minutes, and a patient’s imagination can begin to race as they assume the doctor has discovered the worst.”

With the DySIS system, a patient is able to view what the doctor is viewing in real-time, and discuss the meaning of the colorized zones and markings on the DySISmap, which Dr. Harrison said, enables the patent to be involved and more at ease during the examination procedure.

“Since many patients with dysplasia don’t need immediate treatment due to the possibility of spontaneous resolution, careful long-term follow up is vital,” Dr. Harrison said. “The DySIS system stores high resolution images, which allows the physician to detect changes over time with greater accuracy.”

Examinations performed using the DySIS Advanced Cervical Imaging System do not result in any additional out-of-pocket expenses for the patient.


New Chief Consumer Officer, Chief Strategy and Performance Improvement Officer and Chief Nursing Executive for Piedmont Healthcare

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Matt GoveMatt Gove

Matt Gove has accepted the role of chief consumer officer for Piedmont Healthcare where he will oversee Piedmont Healthcare’s patient experience and philanthropy. This is in addition to his current responsibilities managing the system’s marketing, communications and external affairs. In the expanded role, he will work closely with the system’s practices, hospitals and outpatient services to help develop their approach to meeting consumer needs. Also, Gove will play a more central role in developing outpatient and retail strategy as well as philanthropic campaigns and community outreach. He has been with Piedmont Healthcare since 2011 and recently led the system’s rebrand campaign in 2012 and in 2013 was named Atlanta Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association.


Michelle FisherMichelle Fisher

Michelle Fisher has been promoted to chief strategy and performance improvement officer. In her new role, she will lead Piedmont Healthcare’s strategic planning and business development activities. In addition to her current project management responsibilities, she will continue to develop the system’s Quality and Process Improvement Program (QPI) as well as support other key financial and operational initiatives. Fisher has been with Piedmont Healthcare since 2003 and has supported the system’s growth and strategic expansion throughout her tenure, including the development of the Piedmont Health Institute and the onboarding of Piedmont Newnan Hospital and Piedmont Henry Hospital.




Denise RayDenise Ray

Denise Ray has accepted an expanded role for Piedmont Healthcare as the system’s chief nursing executive. This is in addition to her current responsibilities as chief executive officer for Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. In her new position, Ray will collaborate with Piedmont Healthcare’s front-line nursing teams to redesign the system’s patient care model. As the healthcare environment continually changes, she will work to enhance the quality of care and services provided throughout the Piedmont
Healthcare system. Ray joined the system in 2008 and has serves as the Mountainside CEO since 2012.


WellStar and KSU Team Up to Provide Nursing Students With a New Clinical Experience

Monday, January 5th, 2015

KSU nursing student Selena Sharpe and her clinical instructor, Becca Ligon, RN.

WellStar and Kennesaw State University have teamed up to provide nursing students with a new high quality clinical experience and ultimately, create more proficient nursing graduates.

In the Dedicated Education Unit (DEU), which launched in WellStar Kennestone Hospital’s acute pulmonary unit this fall, each student was paired with a WellStar nurse who served as the student’s personal clinical instructor. This enabled the nursing students more opportunities for critical thinking, skills acquisition, communication with healthcare team members and immersion into the unit culture.

“We created this program to structure and streamline the education curriculum so when nursing students graduate, they are better prepared for their nursing role,” said Carole Harman, BSN, MSA executive director of nursing in acute care at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. “The key thing is they are working with a nurse one-on-one.”

One-on-one instruction

Traditionally, six to eight students share a clinical instructor from their educational institution. These students may be assigned to various units at the healthcare facility. If a student has the opportunity to assist a patient with any kind of procedure or medication, the clinical instructor must be present.

“This often means that students miss opportunities to practice skills because the instructor may be helping another student,” said Christie Emerson, MSN, senior lecturer, KSU WellStar School of Nursing’s DEU clinical coordinator. “In a DEU, this does not happen. With the DEU, the students are being taught by expert clinical nurses who are familiar with unit policies and equipment, and KSU faculty who help link clinical practice with classroom learning.”

Because students’ clinical instructors are by their sides throughout their entire clinical rotation, they have more opportunities to work with patients and collaborate care with other medical team members.

“Now the clinical instructor is the nurse,” said Selena Sharpe, part of the first group of KSU nursing students to complete clinical hours in the DEU. “There is one instructor for every student. And that makes all the difference in the world.”

As a second-semester nursing student, this is Sharpe’s second clinical rotation. Her first was at another healthcare facility in Atlanta where nursing students get their clinical hours the traditional way.  Sharpe reported for each shift not knowing whom she’d be working with that day and unsure whether the nurse would be interested in teaching her.

“The main difference is the nurses have agreed to this,” Sharpe said. “Everybody’s on the same page. They want to teach.”

Sharpe’s clinical instructor, Becca Ligon, RN, also graduated from Kennesaw State University, and seems to have a knack for teaching. Ligon talks through various tasks throughout the day to give Sharpe a chance to learn a nurse’s role from A to Z.

“I can relax and just learn from her,” Sharpe said. “She’s very motivating.”

Thanks to their clinical instructors’ personal attention, the nursing students are able to experience everything a nurse does as part of the team rather than as outsiders looking in.

Real experience

The pilot Dedicated Education Unit at WellStar Kennestone Hospital was offered to junior nursing students enrolled in the required Adult Health Nursing course. They were required to complete 96 hours of clinical practice in eight 12-hour shifts.

“You get to see a lot more than just a traditional eight-hour day,” said Raeshon Botkin-Greenlee, a second semester nursing student at KSU. “This experience has exceeded my expectations.”

Normally, students work through their clinical rotations in eight-hour days. But by gaining experience that comes with working a typical 12-hour nursing shift in the DEU, students experience less stress when they begin their careers and are better prepared for their first nursing roles upon graduation.

When Botkin-Greenlee began working 12-hour shifts on the DEU, she observed the healthcare working environment in a new light.

“It’s a rhythm,” she said. “There is an organized structure to the day. I knew that but I had never seen it in action.”

She starts her day with her clinical instructor, Rosemary Grimes, RN, at 6:40 a.m. when they get the report from the previous shift. They meet the patients, address goals for the day and administer meds.

“As doctors’ orders come in, we’re adjusting,” she said. “Nursing is very collaborative – it is a thinking job.”

And then they start their rounds over, getting the most up-to-date information for physicians, consider diet changes if needed and prepare patients for discharge.

“I like the 12-hour shifts because you get more exposure throughout the day,” said Sharpe, who also appreciates the more realistic schedule. “Being here at different times of day, you’re just going to get more experience.”

Another way WellStar and KSU are enhancing the students’ educations is with scheduling. As opposed to a traditional clinical rotation where the student may report to their healthcare facility just once a week, students in the DEU work twice a week for two days in a row.

“Our clinicals are back-to-back and that lets you have a patient more than one time so you get to see them again, follow up,” Sharpe explained. “It enhances the learning process.”

Botkin-Greenlee couldn’t agree more. Because of the consecutive work days, she was able to get to know patients and celebrate their progress. In one case, she had administered feedings through a feeding tube to one patient who had been in the hospital for several weeks and was able to see him progress.

“To see this patient talking and getting ready to go home and able to eat – I saw within two days how he recovered in leaps and bounds and it was kind of unbelievable!” Botkin-Greenlee said, grinning.

Because of the extended hours and two work days per week, students are able to complete their clinical rotations in just four weeks.

“They are getting such quality time, they learn more in the short period of time,” said Harman, the WellStar nursing director who initiated the DEU partnership concept with KSU last year.

“By all measures, our first four weeks in the Dedicated Education Unit were a success,” she continued. “Students had increased opportunities to develop professionally, take their skills to the next level and form quality relationships. And that’s a win for WellStar. We want these qualified nursing students to continue the relationship with us when they graduate.”


Dr. William Silver to Join the Atlanta Institute for Aesthetic Facial Surgery

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
William E. Silver, MD

William E. Silver, MD

Dr. William Silver, who has practiced facial plastic surgery in North Atlanta for over 30 years, is moving practices. He is now undertaking a new assignment at the Atlanta Institute for Aesthetic Facial Surgery. He is joining Dr. Pradeep Sinha and will be seeing his old and new patients at his new office.

Dr. Silver is very active in local, state and national medical societies. He has been president of the Medical Association of Atlanta and the Medical Association of Georgia, and  he was the first president of the Atlanta Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery Society. He also served as president of the Georgia Society of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Society, where he was awarded the Gerald Gussik Teaching Award and the Lester Brown Service award. On a national level, Dr. Silver served as the vice president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He is a board examiner for the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is triple board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Dr. Silver continues to educate others on Facial Plastic Surgery through his writings and local and national lectures. He is a clinical professor at both the Medical College of Georgia and Emory University Otolaryngology Departments, where he interacts with the residency teaching programs.

Dr. Silver also serves as a fellowship director for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, where he has been teaching new fellows for the past 20 years. In addition to his background in cosmetic facial procedures such as blepharoplasties, facelifts, and otoplasties, he is world-renowned for his experience with rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty, having performed over 10,000 rhinoplasties in his practice career.



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