BEND, Ore. - St. Charles Health System officials said Monday they have entered into a "service line agreement" with Desert Orthopedics and The Center that will provide greater collaboration between medical providers and streamline care for orthopedic patients in Central Oregon.
"As we are trying to improve the delivery of health care, diminish costs and improve access and safety, it made sense for the two major orthopedic groups in the community to come together and look at the bigger picture of administering orthopedic care," said Dr. Tony Hinz, an orthopedic surgeon at The Center and clinical director of the St. Charles Orthopedic Center of Care.
"The hospital is going to provide us tools to look at how we are doing so we can improve patient care and patient safety," Hinz said.
The groups have been discussing a service line agreement for some time, and much of what is outlined in the contract sets the groundwork for the health system's new Orthopedic Center of Care to be a success.
The goal of the Center of Care is to coordinate the orthopedic patient's experience from the time the patient is healthy, through an orthopedic event, treatment and recovery before returning the patient to health.
"For the first time, we have the two largest orthopedic groups agreeing to work with St. Charles to be accountable – all of us – for patient safety and quality," said Dr. Michel Boileau, chief clinical officer for St. Charles. "We are working together to improve outcomes, to reduce the length of stay for patients when appropriate, to use antibiotics and pain medicines appropriately and to make our results available and transparent."
Some of the items outlined in the service line agreement include working to standardize and improve trauma care, working to improve the transfer process from referring physicians and hospitals and working to streamline and standardize the type of orthopedic implants used.
"I think it is a very positive step that the orthopedic physicians and St. Charles are now working together to standardize and improve orthopedic care in Central Oregon," said Dr. Robert Shannon, an orthopedic surgeon at Desert Orthopedics, who has been involved in the project. "We are all trying to improve care."