Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles
“Digital health solutions are fueling patient health education, engagement and empowerment and USC Center for Body Computing is at the forefront of this technology revolution in medicine and research,” said Michael Quick, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs for USC. “Every year this conference draws national and international experts who share solutions that drive medical science innovation and define health care transformation.”
The USC CBC, founded in 2006, is a digital health innovation incubation center that collaborates with various partners to research concepts in consumer-empowered health as well as commercialize wireless health products. Funding for digital health solutions is expected to nearly double in the next few years — from $3.5 billion in start-ups in 2014 to $6.5 billion in 2017. The demand is met with equal force on the patient side, with 75 percent of patients expecting digital solutions in the near future, according to a recent report from McKinsey & Company.
“Technology has introduced a new era in medicine and especially in the role patients can and should play in their own health stories,” said Leslie A. Saxon, MD, a cardiologist and founder/executive director of USC CBC. “Being able to scale medical research to include potentially hundreds of thousands of participants via mobile smartphone and app technology or see 100 patients daily instead of just 20 via a virtual care clinic concept, not only gives physicians more insights and therefore more efficiency in treating and diagnosing but also gives patients more personalized information about their specific health needs.”
Key themes and speakers at this year’s conference include:
Other highlights include presentations and panel discussions with speakers from AliveCor, Proteus Digital Health, Tastemade, USC Cinematic Arts, Academy Award-winning producer Ed Saxon (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia), Karten Design, Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm Life Fund, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Beyers, Keck Medicine of USC robotic surgeons, Harvard Medical School, and other digital health leaders.
by Sherri Snelling]]>
Dr. Carmichael is an endocrinologist who specializes in the research and treatment of pituitary disease. Here’s what you won’t find on his resume:
In training, he became interested in how endocrinologists thought about disorders.
“Endocrinology examines body function in a very complex way. I was drawn to the study of hormone interactions – specifically, the way that these interactions can manifest different degrees of disease in various people. I also really liked the idea of being able to go into a field where you can measure something – in this case, hormone levels – and be able to tell so much about what’s going on in a disease process.”
He has an impressive music collection.
“Between my vinyl records and CDs, I own between 3,000 and 4,000 albums. Growing up, I would go to record stores all the time. There was one in Costa Mesa, in particular, with vast amounts of records. I have always listened to a variety of genres, but I have primarily listened to independent rock since college.”
He’s always been a competitive runner.
“Recently, I’ve been getting back into running after a little bit of a break. In high school, I ran track and cross-country. I ran the New York Marathon a couple of times when I was completing my fellowship. There’s something about the challenge of running a marathon that I think is very appealing to people – it’s nice to be able to say, ‘I’ve done that.’”
His house is a Los Angeles cultural monument.
“I am interested in the historic preservation of modern homes and buildings in the city. Occasionally, I attend Modern Committee (ModCom) meetings with Los Angeles Conservancy. I became really invested when my wife and I bought our house. We applied to the city and got it listed for historic preservation. It’s a midcentury modern house designed by David Hyun, who famously designed the Japanese Village Plaza in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo.”
The USC Pituitary Center focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to care.
“The pituitary is called the master gland because it controls and receives a lot of input from many other glands in the body: it controls the ovaries, the testes, the adrenals and the thyroid. At the USC Pituitary Center, we wanted to develop a center with a multidisciplinary approach, which includes both an endocrinologist and a neurosurgeon, among many other areas of medicine. Many of the diseases are primarily treated with neurosurgery. However, there’s a lot of endocrine dysfunction that happens as a part of the diseases and many new medications for the treatment of hormonal disorders. We think a group approach toward patient care improves communication among physicians and the patients.”
He and his wife are both physicians, and they met in medical school.
“My family is very important to me. My wife is a pulmonary and critical care physician at Kaiser Permanente. We have two daughters who are now 5 and 7 years old. I really treasure being able to spend time with them.”
Dr. Carmichael is co-director of the USC Pituitary Center. His clinical research interests include the study of growth hormone deficiency and growth hormone excess. He is also interested in studying the relationship between growth hormone and glucose systems.
For Adrianna Bowman, a vibrant 5-year-old preparing to start kindergarten, what seemed to be a routine health screening turned out to be a potentially life-saving event.
As part of their preparations for school, Adrianna’s mother, Alona, took her to a well-child checkup earlier this summer. There was no reason for concern — the little girl seemed perfectly healthy, leading an active life that included karate, piano, drum lessons and even some modeling.
Then Adrianna failed her hearing screening.
She was deaf in her left ear, as further testing that would soon involve specialists at Keck Medicine of USC would confirm. The underlying culprit turned out to be a benign brain tumor, known as an acoustic neuroma. And it was a big one.
The large tumor in such a child posed an immediate threat to her basic life function. The tumor was compressing her brain stem and could be deadly if not removed.
Quick and decisive action was needed, and on Sept. 8, just one week after Adrianna started kindergarten, she underwent brain surgery performed by Rick Friedman and Steven Giannotta, two world-class surgeons from the USC Acoustic Neuroma Center.
“It was imperative that the entire tumor was resected in one treatment to preserve the quality of life for Adrianna,” said Giannotta, chair of neurological surgery for the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This was a challenging tumor considering the size and Adrianna’s age,” he explained, “requiring delicate dissection around her significantly impacted facial nerve.”
The result? Complete and gratifying success.
“We saved her life,” Friedman proudly said later. “Adrianna is my youngest acoustic neuroma patient, and it was incredibly humbling to be able to help her and provide such a successful outcome.”
Friedman, the director of otology, neurotology and skull base surgery for Keck Medicine of USC, had come to the attention of Alona Bowman and her husband as a result of their frantic search for help upon first learning of their daughter’s condition. Bowman found an online community of acoustic neuroma patients, which in turn embraced the family and helped connect them with Kristine Siwek, a patient navigator at the USC Acoustic Neuroma Center.
“I was determined to find the best team,” a relieved and grateful Bowman recalled just a few days after the surgery. “We felt reassured after speaking with Dr. Friedman and hearing the compassion in his voice.”
Bowman also credits the guidance and compassion she received from non-surgical staff members who assisted with Adrianna’s care.
“It was a relief to have the patient navigator, who listened to my concerns and guided me through every step of the process,” Bowman said. “For once, I didn’t have to do all the work; someone was making sure the process was working.”
Acoustic neuromas are usually diagnosed in adults from age 30 to 60, but they can occur at any age. Located on the eighth cranial nerve, the tumors can affect balance, hearing and facial nerve function. In Adrianna’s surgery, the tumor was removed via a translabryinthine approach, which means an incision made directly behind her left ear.
Just six days after the operation, Adrianna and her parents were back at the Acoustic Neuroma Center to complete follow-up appointments.
Adrianna, recovering more quickly than the family ever imagined, danced playfully in sparkly sneakers and a colorful dress. She joked with Jennifer Tanaka, a physical therapist, who used a toy from the Minions movie to gauge her sensory responses. Then they took a walk — frontward and backward — down a hallway to test the child’s balance.
Friedman soon stopped by to check her progress and make sure she was healing well. He praised her courage and optimism during the ordeal and reassured Adrianna’s parents that everything was going great.
“High five?” Bowman asked.
With that, the little girl with the big tumor lifted her tiny hand and reached out toward the hand that the neurosurgeon had used just a few days before to save her life. They smacked palms.
“High five,” Adrianna said.
By Les Dunseith
Kristine Siwek and Sunny Jones contributed to the story.]]>
The USC Institute of Urology has established a formal relationship with India’s newest multispecialty hospital, the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Center located in Mumbai.
Leading the effort on USC’s behalf is Inderbir S. Gill, MD, the founding executive director of the USC Institute of Urology and chairman and professor, Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Gill was in attendance late last year when India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the hospital, a historic facility that has been revitalized with the addition of a technologically superior, 19-story tower with 345 beds.
This hospital is operated by a trust and is not-for-profit. It is funded by Reliance Foundation.
Discussions for this association started a few years ago and eventually led to Keck Medicine of USC’s partnership with the new hospital in India. USC President C. L. Max Nikias, PhD, sees these types of synergistic partnerships as a positive outgrowth of the university’s growing reputation as an innovator in the health and medical fields.
“Dr. Gill and his colleagues in Los Angeles stand at the fore of efforts to devise new and better treatments of urologic disease, and their work improves lives all over the world,” Nikias said. “USC is privileged to support this opportunity to extend Dr. Gill’s outstanding expertise in urology and the field of robotic surgery to benefit patients in India.”
USC’s international reach includes an office in Mumbai. Less than three miles away is Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Center, which was first established in 1918 but has been rebuilt under the guidance of Nita M. Ambani, chairperson of the Reliance Foundation.
“We have a strong commitment to make this one of the best hospitals in the entire subcontinent by drawing on the talent and expertise of leading health care institutions worldwide,” Ambani said. “As part of this effort, we reached out to Dr. Gill to help us establish this relationship with USC.”
The relationship could expand over time, but USC’s initial focus is built around Gill’s specialties in urology and robotic surgical procedures.
“This is the first of its kind,” said Thomas Jackiewicz, senior vice president and CEO of Keck Medicine of USC, about the partnership. “With Reliance Foundation hospital’s infrastructure and stature — and USC’s and Dr Gill’s presence in the field of urologic robotic surgery — we absolutely will create India’s premier robotic surgery and urology program within a year or two.”
Additionally, USC and Reliance Foundation hospital are collaborating in teaching and research activities, including providing advanced training to Indian urologists and residents.
“We see this relationship with USC as a big step forward for the entire hospital and the Department of Urology that will benefit immensely from the excellent medical training and expertise of an internationally acclaimed medical institution and its renowned doctors. It will also enable our patients to be treated directly by Dr. Gill, and benefit from his rich experience,” Ambani said.
The opportunity to make a lasting impact on health care in the Asian subcontinent is particularly exciting for Gill. “If one is able to impact urological practice in India, not just by me personally operating on patients but by teaching a thousand urologists, then that would be an enormous privilege,” he said.
The benefits of the partnership for India’s citizens will be significant, but it’s a two-way relationship, Gill said, that has already improved patient care in the United States.
“In the past, we have gone to India to collaborate and develop novel robotic techniques, and we have brought those techniques to the U.S. and to USC,” Gill said. “To give just one example, USC is the leading center in the country for robotic surgery for bladder cancer. And some of those techniques, we developed in India.”
The partnership also holds promise for clinical trials of new treatments, he said.
When Gill first came to the United States 27 years ago, it was largely to innovate novel technology in this country.
“Then I came to USC and have been here five years, and our team, co-led by doctors such as Monish Aron and Mihir Desai, has truly pushed the boundaries of robotic surgery in urology,” Gill said. “I can confidently state that the USC robotic urology program is the acknowledged world leader today.”
Now he has an opportunity to take his expertise back to India, sharing it in a hospital that has been outfitted with state-of-the art equipment.
“We are recruiting faculty. We are going to be performing robotic surgeries there. Having international conferences. Setting up teaching programs. Teleconferencing grand rounds on Skype,” Gill said. “It is an enormous privilege for USC Urology to help develop Reliance Foundation Hospital Urology.”
by Les Dunseith]]>
Keck Medicine of USC vascular surgeons Sung Wan Ham, MD, and Sukgu Han, MD, recently completed the first procedure of its kind in the United States with a newly available robotic catheter.
The device, known as the Magellan Robotic System 10Fr catheter, was utilized in a peripheral endovascular procedure on a patient with bile duct cancer. The new robotic catheter was used to stent open the two main arteries that supply the abdominal organs, giving the best chance for a successful surgery by the liver surgeons. The devices is the newest and largest in a line of robotic catheters available to surgeons using the Magellan Robotic System, which has been in use at Keck Hospital of USC for about a year to treat peripheral vascular disease.
The system deploys catheters during minimally invasive endovascular procedures. Ham, an assistant professor of surgery in the division of vascular surgery for the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said the Magellan robot lets a physician control a guide wire, catheter and supporting sheath from a centralized remote workstation. This allows for precise navigation even through difficult bends in the vasculature, which can reduce procedure times and lessen radiation exposure to physicians, patients and staff.
“The new Magellan catheter gives us the ability to deliver larger devices with robotic control, broadening the breadth of robotic procedures we can offer to additional patients,” Ham explained. “This element of the new 10Fr catheter will allow us to perform endovascular procedures more efficiently with less radiation, particularly with complex endovascular aortic procedures.”
Han, an assistant professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine, also sees this milestone as an important step toward use of intravascular robotics in a broader range of procedures.
“We experienced the same degree of control and precision with the new 10-French robotic catheter as the previous smaller caliber systems,” Han noted. “We were able to use the trans-femoral approach in delivering therapy to these highly angulated target vessels. This would not have been possible without the stability and control of the Magellan system.”
Keck Hospital of USC was the first hospital in California to acquire the robotic system.
“We are committed to continuing to expand our robotic endovascular practice and remain among the nation’s leaders in vascular technology,” said Fred Weaver, MD, MMM, chief of the division of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy. He said the technology benefits patients with serious health conditions by improving their chance to be treated via a minimally invasive procedure that usually results in less pain, shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries.]]>
Dr. Doshi is an electrophysiologist with primary focus in atrial fibrillation and device therapy for heart failure. Here’s what you won’t find on his resume:
His interest in science drew him to medicine.
“I liked biology in high school and thought medical school was a natural fit. The big decision I had to make was between pursuing a PhD in biochemistry or going to medical school. I ultimately chose medical school because I like the patient care aspect. I enjoy being hands-on, so I pursued a procedure-oriented specialty.”
He followed his heart to electrophysiology.
“I always leaned toward cardiology. The physiology of the heart is very elegant compared to other areas of the body. It’s very simple and well understood. Electrophysiology essentially stems from our understanding and interpretation of electrocardiograms (EKGs). EKGs fascinated me during my residency because it is a simple tool from which you can glean so much information.”
He starts his day in the gym.
“Exercise is tremendously necessary to me. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. everyday and drive up from Orange County to Los Angeles. I hit the gym at 6 a.m. when it opens. The drive up and my work out time is my protected time where I’m just doing something for me and then, of course, the day starts.”
He enjoys exploratory travel.
“I’m not a sit-at-the-beach, do-nothing kind of guy. I like touring the sites when I travel. When my daughters were in high school, we used to make them look up facts for a particular site and teach us as we traveled through a major city such as London or Paris.”
He’s “cursed” to speaking only one language.
“I didn’t start speaking until really late. At the time, the pediatricians told my parents, who were legitimately concerned I would never speak, not to talk to me in in their native language Gujarati, so I would not get confused. I’m hence cursed to only speak English. Now we know, of course, that it’s better to expose kids to as many different languages as possible early on.”
The USC electrophysiology program is comprehensive.
We see and do it all. We have a fully comprehensive program, and we can offer every type of intervention for every type of disease entity within electrophysiology. I think that makes us unique and I think our section is diverse enough in physician interests where we have physicians covering a multitude of subspecialties within our field.
He’s seen advances in the field translate into better outcomes for patients.
“When I first started in electrophysiology, defibrillators were very large. They were inserted into the stomach and very often required open-heart surgery. The mortality for these procedures was about 50 percent. The technology and procedure has evolved to the point where defibrillators are much smaller. The leads are inserted through a vein, which can be done under local anesthesia in virtually minutes.
The original pacemakers were huge. Electrodes were sewn onto the heart during open-heart surgery. Those evolved into transvenous leads, which may have problems with infection. Now we’ve evolved to a leadless pacemaker, which is inserted via a catheter that has no leads, no wires and no risk of causing damage to the veins if you have to take it out.
In it’s infancy, catheter ablation began approaching only the simplest of arrhythmias. Today, we can tackle arrhythmias that are extremely complex, such as atrial fibrillation and offer an actual cure for the arrhythmia. Electrophysiology, more than almost any other field in medicine, has been fueled by innovation and new technology.”
Dr. Doshi is the director of the electrophysiology program at the USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute.
The June site review produced the best result ever for the prestigious medical facility situated on USC’s Health Sciences Campus near downtown Los Angeles, earning an “outstanding” distinction from the NCI reviewers.
“This highly laudatory review is a validation by the nation’s cancer experts of all the considerable effort and talent of the Norris Cancer Center senior leaders, program, and core directors and administration,” said Stephen B. Gruber, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“The NCI recognition reaffirms the center as a scientific leader as well as a vital community and regional resource,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Established in 1971, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has benefited from continuous recognition and funding from the NCI since 1973, when it was named one of the original eight comprehensive cancer centers in the country. Today, there are 45 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, and this result moves USC Norris into the upper echelon of NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, of which USC Norris is one of only three in Los Angeles County. In its previous review, USC Norris had received a score in the range classified by the NCI as “excellent.”
USC Norris provides care for patients in its affiliated hospitals and outpatient clinics. It conducts hundreds of clinical trials, offering the latest in innovative cancer treatments. USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center-affiliated hospitals include the USC Norris Cancer Hospital, Keck Hospital of USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.
“We are now poised to build upon this incredible accomplishment to further strengthen our efforts to push the boundaries of cancer discovery in order to better prevent, diagnose, treat and cure cancer,” said Gruber, an oncologist and geneticist who holds the H. Leslie and Elaine S. Hoffman Cancer Research Chair at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
The review recommends continued full funding from the NCI to continue its support of a broad range of clinical, research and educational programs at the USC Norris. The award is designed to reduce the impact of cancer upon the lives of people in California and beyond.
More than 200 scientists and physicians from the faculty of the Keck School and other USC schools are members of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, investigating the complex origins and progression of cancer, developing prevention strategies and searching for cures.
Preparing for the site visit was a long, complex and highly integrated process that included extensive and detailed data collection, analysis and reporting, said Alan S. Wayne, MD, director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and head of the division of hematology, oncology and blood and marrow transplantation for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Wayne is also associate director of USC Norris and professor of pediatrics for the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
“Peer-review that acknowledges the mission and work of our Cancer Center is particularly gratifying,” noted Gruber. “Expert reviewers rigorously evaluated all of our programs, shared resources, and infrastructure, and provided us with more than just a meritorious commendation. We received valuable guidance to help us continue our exceptional trajectory.”
He added, “I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our administrative and informatics staff, who devoted thousands of hours to prepare this grant application, helping assure continuous support from the NCI through 2020 and beyond.”
by Les Dunseith]]>
The center will be working with the SHOP, an innovation lab from VSP Global, to pursue research on mobile health, wearable technology and the growing intersection of personalized, empowered health care.
“It’s exciting to work with VSP on an unexplored avenue of wearable health technology,” said USC CBC Founder and Executive Director Leslie Saxon, MD. “Together we’re going beyond the limitations of today’s health and wellness monitoring and giving power to consumers to become the heroes of their own health stories. As the leader in vision services, VSP supports millions of members, and we’re thrilled to have them as a USC CBC member, where we can collaborate closely on the development of this groundbreaking product.”
In March, VSP Global announced the development of Project Genesis, the first wearable prototype to seamlessly integrate health-tracking technology into the temple of an optical frame. The first generation of the device syncs via Bluetooth to a custom app, tracking the wearer’s steps, calories burned, activity time and distance traveled.
SHOP team members engaged in an intense two-day think tank earlier this summer with the USC CBC to explore commercialization pathways to take Project Genesis from prototype to market-ready product.
“As we enter into a new phase in the development of Project Genesis, it’s critical that we have the very best minds at the table to ensure we’re developing a meaningful experience that enhances the wearer’s life,” said SHOP co-leader Jay Sales. “Our membership with the USC CBC creates a partnership hub that will allow our team to engineer the next generation of this product with insight from experts outside our own bubble.”
Founded in 2007, the USC CBC functions as an interdisciplinary brain trust and innovation center within the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Member organizations are given access to expertise in medicine, business, engineering and entertainment to better navigate the complex and evolving world of wireless health care.
“Being at the USC Center for Body Computing is like being at the Knights of the Round Table,” said SHOP co-leader Leslie Muller. “With diverse perspectives and the mobile health expertise of the USC CBC, we can move Genesis into the next phase of development with a holistic approach that fuses design, technology and contextualized health care through a platform that we know best — eyewear.”
As an emerging focus for the SHOP, contextualized health care is the idea of enriching and personalizing traditional medical records with context from daily living. An example might include harnessing raw biometric data from a wearable device and transforming it into actionable insights that result in increased health and well being for the wearer.
by Sherri Snelling]]>
Beginning this fall, the program will help people living near the Health Sciences Campus to maximize their chances of surviving cancer by getting them to the right doctors. It will also help them in understanding treatment options, clarifying insurance benefits and finding additional resources.Before Ronnie Lippin developed a rare form of breast cancer, the couple had high-flying careers in the entertainment industry. Ronnie Lippin represented top names in music such as Eric Clapton, Prince, Brian Wilson and the Bee Gees. Dick Lippin represented major Hollywood companies as clients of his public relations firm, the Lippin Group.
Despite their success in business, dealing with Ronnie Lippin’s cancer made Dick Lippin feel “like a babe in the woods.”
“I was so sure of decisions I made in business, but when it came to complex medical information, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing,” Dick Lippin said. “I remember thinking that if I was going through all this, I couldn’t imagine what people who couldn’t afford great care were going through.”
After Ronnie’s death, Dick Lippin partnered with Tower Cancer Research Foundation. He explained the type of program he envisioned to honor his wife’s memory and they steered him toward a $300,000 donation to establish the program at USC Norris.
Linda David, executive director of Tower Cancer Research Foundation, explained that the organization works with its donors to find the right institution in Southern California for the kind of donation they want to make.
“He is passionate about getting help for people who don’t have access to the best care or the understanding of the system to get the help they need,” explained David.
Lippin came to her unsure where his money would do the most good. She knew that Keck Medicine physicians do free cancer screenings in the communities around the campus, where there are high instances of late-stage cancer diagnoses, and she saw an immediate fit.
“A lot of those people who get a cancer diagnosis will benefit from someone stepping in to help them navigate their next steps,” she said.
Zul Surani, executive director of HSC Community Partnerships, said that it was, indeed, a timely and perfect fit. He explained that USC Norris had identified a need to bridge the gap between doing free cancer screenings in the nearby neighborhoods and making sure those people get the help they need.
“We don’t want the people we screen and who need follow up services to fall through the cracks,” Surani said. “We are so grateful for this gift because we think it is will help us fulfill our mission of promoting better health in the community we serve.”
by Hope Hamashige]]>
Benjamin Emanuel, DO, and May Kim-Tenser, MD, launched an effort to optimize their documentation about a year ago after discovering that the existing process did not reflect the actual severity of illnesses and mortality risks of their patients, affecting their quality indicators.
“We asked ourselves: How can we improve our documentation to reflect how sick our patients actually are?” Emanuel said. “We found that accurately documenting how the patient is actively being treated had a huge impact.”
Their work has paid off. The neurology team has improved all measurable indicators of quality, complications rate, severity of illness, risk-adjusted mortality, case mix index and the respective proper reimbursement for the hospital.
Proper documentation is a narrative, Kim-Tenser said.
“You’re describing everything that’s happening with the patient in real time and documenting what is actively being treated,” she said. “I changed my wording to reflect the severity of their current condition and documented how their problems would be treated.”
The neurology team’s improved documentation has led to an additional billing reimbursement of as much as $600,000 per month.
But the importance of proper documentation is not just financial, said Jeyson Flores, senior clinical documentation specialist for Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. Accurate documentation in the medical record will translate into proper coding and reporting that will produce meaningful clinical data that will truly represent the severity of illness, risk of mortality and complications rate of patients. It will also support decisions about the medical necessity and length of stay in the hospital, he said.
Clinical data is analyzed by entities that make the information publicly available to help consumers make decisions when choosing hospitals, physicians and health plans, Flores said. Additionally, properly reflecting a patient’s condition and the care they receive can protect physicians from lawsuits.
“Documentation drives everything,” Flores said. “If you already have good documentation, you won’t be affected by the ICD-10 transition.”
The focus on documentation comes as Keck Medicine of USC and other medical facilities across the nation prepare for the Oct. 1 implementation deadline of ICD-10, the latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases published by the World Health Organization as the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. ICD-10 will be used to report diagnoses in all clinical settings.
Keck Medicine of USC has begun information and training sessions. Under the old system, physicians may have been providing the patient with optimal care but that care was not accurately reflected in the patient’s medical record, Flores said.
The work in the Department of Neurology highlights the success of the Clinical Documentation Improvement Program and shows what can be achieved when physicians and other staff members commit to accurately reflecting patient conditions and care in the medical record, Flores said.
“Emanual and Kim-Tenser understood what needed to be done,” Flores said. “They were receptive. Having the support of administration and department leaders is crucial to documentation success.”
Keck Hospital of USC treats some of the most severely ill patients, making accurate documentation critical for patient care and accurate billing, said Katy Sullivan, clinical information manager.
“In the current health care climate, it is vitally important that our physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants accurately represent that severity of illness in their documentation so that we are able to be reimbursed fully for the care we provided,” Sullivan said. “Additionally, we need to ensure that our complication rate is not artificially high due to unclear documentation.”
by Douglas Morino]]>