Columbus Regional Health has combined its endoscopy services into a newly renovated $3.8 million space at the hospital to provide upgraded technology and a streamlined experience for patients.
The 9,484-square-foot Endoscopy Center, near the courtyard entrance on the hospital’s main floor, opens Monday. About 30 patient procedures will be performed daily in the three endoscopy procedure rooms.
Also housed in the center is a pulmonary suite, where Dr. David Wilson and Dr. Bradley Erickson will perform lung diagnostic and treatment procedures. Wilson also will telecast instructional sessions to other medical professionals around the world.
In 2012, nearly 5,000 endoscopic procedures were completed in the hospital’s second-floor surgery rooms and at the outpatient Surgery Center on 10th Street.
Most of these now will take place in the new center with 15 private rooms, 15 registered nurses, four patient care partners, a nurse navigator and medical director, Dr. Geoffrey Raymer, a gastroenterologist with Southeastern Indiana Gastroenterology.
“It will all have a domino effect for patient services as we increase efficiencies for our outpatient services,” said Marcy Ross, a registered nurse, who serves as the center’s director of surgical services.
Ross said that by moving last year’s 3,800 endoscopic procedures at the hospital and the 1,000 at the surgery center, operating room schedules will be freed up for other surgical procedures.
One of the goals in designing the new Endoscopy Center was to help create an environment that encourages more patients to have tests that in some cases can be lifesaving.
Ross said making the experience as convenient as possible includes having patients begin the preregistration process at their doctor’s office and compile it over the phone with hospital personnel.
On the day of their treatments, patients can have their vehicles valet parked, then go directly to the Endoscopy Center.
Designed with large hallways and wood-grain floors, the center also has rooms with seating for family and wall-mounted televisions. Patients will be in the same room before and after their procedures, allowing physicians to talk with the patients and families instead of going to separate consultation rooms.
The renovated space previously served a variety of uses, including office space and a temporary cafeteria after the 2008 flood.
A nurse navigator, Kinsie Fisher, helps guide patients and their families through their time at the center. She responds to questions and concerns, relays information to doctors, offers support and acts as a resource.
Rooms in the center also have the latest in communication features for patients and nurses. Patients have a hand-held call system that goes directly to their nurses’ cellphones, worn on their waists.
The patient device also includes general call buttons and special ones that list “water,” “toilet” and “pain,” three of the most common requests for assistance.
Another device on the patient walls allows nurses to communicate with other departments at the hospital so they can make requests for services without leaving the patient’s side.
Ross explained that the Endoscopy Center is one of the first areas of the hospital to have the new communication technology installed.
“The whole goal is to increase quality and efficiency,” Ross said.
The center opens just in time for March’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which encourages screening and early diagnosis for colon and rectal cancer.
Raymer, medical director for the center, said colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
The leading screening test is a colonoscopy, which will be conducted at the new center.
Raymer said the procedure provides the best way to find cancer in the early stages when there often are no symptoms. And treatment is more successful the earlier the cancer is found.
A colonoscopy includes inserting a lighted scope through the colon to see any abnormal areas, including precancerous growths, called polyps.
Raymer said his patients often tell him they feel like they fall asleep for the colonoscopy and are surprised that it’s over when they wake up.
Current recommendations are for most everyone to have an initial screening colonoscopy starting at age 50, Raymer said. A physician might recommend an earlier screening if there is family history or physical issues that suggest the test would be needed.
Along with colonoscopies, other procedures performed at the Endoscopy Center will include:
Upper GI — A tool, called an endoscope, is inserted through the mouth and down the throat to view the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine.
Esophageal manometry — Measures the strength and function of the esophagus. Can identify causes of heartburn, swallowing problems or chest pain.
48-hour pH monitoring — A procedure where a small pH monitor is placed in the esophagus to record the presence of esophageal acid exposure.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography — A procedure used to view the common bile duct to help locate and treat blockages in the duct. Can also be used to locate pancreas problems.
Performing procedures will be Raymer and Dr. Steven Pletcher, also a gastroenterologist, and Drs. David Lee, David Thompson, Frederick Shedd and Michael Dorenbusch, surgeons from Southern Indiana Surgery, who also perform endoscopic procedures.
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